GE and KeyHIE expand collaboration

Expansion aims to improve and broaden capabilities for region's HIE
By Mike Miliard
10:50 AM
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GE Healthcare and Keystone Health Information Exchange, which serves central and northeast Pennsylvania, have announced plans to expand the region’s HIE to augment its chronic disease management capabilities and broaden its reach to healthcare providers.
 
“Working with GE, we’ve achieved our initial goal of enhancing patient care by providing critical patient information, like problems, medications, allergies, to our emergency department physicians,” said Jim Younkin, director, Keystone Health Information Exchange (KeyHIE). “Our next step is to use our health information exchange to accelerate collaboration among a broader set of clinicians.”
 
Geisinger Health System, an integrated delivery network recognized for its innovative use of healthcare IT-supported care coordination and a founding participant in KeyHIE, recently received a $16 million Beacon Community award from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. As part of that award, the Keystone Beacon Community will use KeyHIE to extend patient-focused care coordination across a community of more than 250,000 residents.


Using KeyHIE, Keystone Beacon case managers will have access to cross-team communications and receive auto-generated notifications of patient encounters rather than spending time collecting important patient information locked in different systems or relying on fax, email, voicemail and the postal service for communications.

As a result, case managers can have more time to help patients with chronic diseases stay on track with their care plan and out of the hospital, potentially reducing the total cost of care. In addition, the Keystone Beacon Community will be an early adopter of GE Web-based portals that will soon be available to patient and physician communities. 
 
“KeyHIE supports a highly effective model of coordinated care,” said Earl Jones, vice president and general manager of GE Healthcare’s eHealth Solutions business unit.  “KeyHIE has the right focus on improving both patient care in the hospital and at home and on reducing cost inefficiencies, like redundant tests, though better information sharing. As the business model for healthcare providers evolves, KeyHIE is well positioned for the future.”
 
Currently, KeyHIE interconnects Geisinger and five other regional hospitals – Community Medical Center, Evangelical Community Hospital, Mid-Valley Hospital, Moses Taylor Hospital and Shamokin Area Community Hospital – for a total of seven facilities.
 
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) also awarded Geisinger a $2.3 million grant to extend the KeyHIE connected community to additional regional hospitals, long-term care facilities, home health organizations and physician practices. In addition to expanding participation across the community, KeyHIE will use the five-year AHRQ grant to make new clinical applications and document types available within the HIE.