Maine community health centers aim to boost outcomes

Maine Primary Care Association (MPCA), which represents the state’s safety-net community health centers, has launched a quality initiative that puts information technology at its core.

The project, which will aggregate clinical data across Federally Qualified Health Centers, is part of a statewide priority to gather and standardize electronic patient health information for the evidence-based decision making that can lead to improved healthcare results and reduce costs.

[See also: The ‘three-legged stool’ model for EMR transition.]

The association tapped Arcadia Solutions, a national healthcare IT consultancy, to help it implement technology to improve outcomes and decrease cost.

“The ability to advocate for quality care improvement at a greater level is a continuous goal of our organization,” said Kevin Lewis, CEO of MPCA. “By partnering with Arcadia, we are able to benefit from their strategic expertise and achieve the HIT results we desire across the state, starting with our members serving Maine’s underserved communities and populations. By leveraging a centralized platform, we are able to achieve them at a lower cost and maximize the value of our technologies.”

MPCA and the Arcadia Solutions team are currently working with MPCA’s 19 community health centers to provide connectivity to a centralized database that houses and standardizes clinical data from each organization’s EHR system.

The associated reporting tool enables both the MPCA and its individual health centers to conduct patient population management and benchmark across care settings to identify best practices. Users can leverage a suite of data management tools as well as direct constantly updated views into clinical, financial and operational data. Using the centralized data repository as a hub for HIT connectivity, MPCA also hopes to reduce the cost burden for development of additional technologies and interfaces.

MPCA is also working with Arcadia to roll out two technologies that have a direct bearing on improving patient care, increasing efficiency and reducing gaps in the safety net.

ImmPact is an interface that directly connects the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with MPCA’s health centers, allowing the CDC to transmit up-to-date immunization data into the CHC’s EHR. The interface has already proven effective in providing the most complete immunization record on any given patient regardless of provider history.

In its continued effort to improve access to healthcare, MPCA is also rolling out its CHIPRA reporting, a service that decreases the potential for costly gaps in patient coverage by electronically alerting MPCA providers when their Medicaid patients are up for reenrollment.

[See also: CDC project to test health alerts sent to doctors via EHRs.]

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