Pueblo Community Takes a Big Leap Forward With Health Information ExchangeDate: June 6th, 2012Category: CORHIO e-NewsletterTopics: HIE, CORHIO Network, Colorado Hospitals & Health Systems
Two Pueblo Hospitals and Three Long-Term Organizations Are Connected Through CORHIO; Four More Organizations Expected to “Go Live” This Summer
Pueblo County is a growing community strongly influenced by a large Hispanic population (making up 41% of residents*). Pueblo’s friendly, family-oriented culture, diverse economy and relatively low cost of living make it an attractive community to live in, though from a health care perspective it has some challenges with higher-than-average uninsured residents and Medicaid enrollment (16.5% and 21.2% respectively**).
Pueblo’s health care providers strive to provide its 160,000 residents with high-quality, affordable care, and its newest achievement is an expansion in health information exchange (HIE) participation. Pueblo’s two main hospitals and three of its long-term care organizations are now connected to the HIE, and four additional provider organizations plan to go live this summer.
HIE Forges Partnership Between Hospitals and Other Care Providers
“Although both Pueblo hospitals do an excellent job of trying to quickly move patient information to primary care providers, there have always been cases where pieces of the health record have been incomplete,” said Steve Shirley, CIO at Parkview Medical Center, which treats patients from 14 surrounding counties representing 350,000 residents.
“For instance, an emergency department physician may want a patient to follow-up treatment with their primary care physician. However, physicians get busy and may forget to fax over vital pieces of the patient record. If a primary care physician cannot track down a patient’s lab results, they will have to end up repeating them. HIE allows us to have immediate access to the entire patient record reducing repetitive tests helping to save costs and improve patient satisfaction,” continued Shirley.
“The way the health care system works in Pueblo, as I’m sure it does in other Colorado communities, acute and post-care care providers (such as home health organizations and hospices) need continuity of care,” said Scott Buck, executive director at Gentiva Home Health, which providers home health and hospice services to more than 350,000 patients from more than 475 community locations nationwide. “The HIE allows acute and post-acute providers to be better partners and now we can readily share comprehensive patient information, which ultimately helps us to reduce hospitalizations and trips to the emergency room.”
Immediate Lab Results Beneficial to Behavioral Health Care Providers
Spanish Peaks Behavioral Health Center, just west of downtown Pueblo, provides mental health, substance abuse and domestic violence treatment to 6,000 individuals each year. The facility is expected to be connected to the CORHIO HIE in the next few months.
Dorothy Perry, CEO and president of Spanish Peaks Behavioral Health Center also weighed in on the benefits of HIE. “We’re hoping to expedite the communication process with HIE, so when a client is discharged from a hospital we can obtain their discharge information and lab results more quickly. Currently, some of those processes are mailed and it can take weeks for that information to get to us, which can delay patient care. Many of our medications require lab results, so immediate access to that information through HIE will allow us to provide better, more appropriate care for our patients.”
Spanish Peaks is one of four mental health centers that is a part of SyCare providing community-based mental health services to more than 68,000 Medicaid clients in 19 of Colorado's most economically disadvantaged counties. All four SyCare facilities are expected to go live on the CORHIO HIE this summer.
Pueblo HIE Participants - Currently Connected:
- Parkview Medical Center
- St. Mary Corwin Medical Center (part of the Centura Health network)
Long-Term and Post-Acute Care Organizations:
- Columbine Chateau Assisted Living
- Gentiva Home Health
- Sangre de Cristo Hospice and Palliative Care
Later this summer, the following Pueblo health care facilities plan to “go live” on the HIE:
- Corwin Clinic Surgical
- Pueblo Community Health Center
- Skin Care Now
- Dr. James B. Smith
- Spanish Peaks Behavioral Health Center
For a map view of Pueblo HIE participants, visit our Participating Providers page and choose "Pueblo" from the "city list" menu.