Connecticut makes strides on health data exchange

eHealthConnecticut, Inc., announced April 26 that Community Health Center, Inc., a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) headquartered in Middletown, has joined healthcare providers participating in the Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS) Health Information Exchange (HIE) Pilot Project.

The other facilities include Hartford Hospital and St. Francis Hospital, both in Hartford; Lawrence and Memorial Hospital in New London; and Staywell Health Center in Waterbury.

The five participating facilities are registering patients and contributing clinical summary documents to the HIE. There are more than 250 HIEs in the country, but less than 20 percent are exchanging data across non-affiliated providers. The pilot initiative is one of the few that have achieved this milestone. More than 70,000 patients are registered with that number growing daily.

[See also: CORHIO exceeding its initial HIE goals.]

The pilot program, using an information technology system provided by Misys Open Source Solutions (MOSS), is demonstrating the technology and functionality of exchanging health information to benefit patients who receive their care from multiple providers. The initiative gives healthcare providers access to information that is essential to offering their patients quality, safe and timely care.

The goal of the Connecticut HIE pilot project is to design, implement and evaluate the feasibility of a health information exchange for Connecticut’s Medicaid Program and clients. Initially, the project focused on Connecticut’s Medicaid population. It was later expanded, at the request of providers, to include all patients regardless of payer. This extended the value of the project by implementing a consistent way of accessing information to support delivery of quality care at no additional technology cost, officials say.

[See also: Chicago to develop largest metropolitan HIE in the nation.]

"The Connecticut DSS Health Information Exchange is already helping to improve the quality, safety and cost-effectiveness of healthcare in the five pilot facilities by offering providers quick access to diagnoses, current medication lists, test results, drug allergies, side effects and other key information at the point of care,” said Angelo S. Carrabba, MD, chairman of eHealthConnecticut, Inc. and past president of the Connecticut State Medical Society. “As a healthcare provider, I personally believe that having the right information at the right time when treating my patients reduces the possibility of medication errors and other patient harm from occurring, while improving the quality of healthcare I deliver to them."

The pilot HIE system is hosted in a secure and confidential data center at the Connecticut Hospital Association. It operates in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to protect the privacy and security of patient information.