5 Tennessee providers deploy Direct

'A great opportunity' to comply with federal HIE requirements
By Mike Miliard
10:57 AM

Five healthcare organizations in Tennessee announced Thursday they will toss their hats into the ring for the pilot phase of a new Volunteer State initiative called Health eShare, implementing Direct Project protocols to exchange patient data.

Chattanooga-based HealthSouth Chattanooga Rehabilitation Hospital, Erlanger Health System, Southeast Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disability and Home Health Care of East Tennessee, Inc. and Hospice will participate in Health eShare.

Joining those facilities will be Memphis-based Health Choice, a partnership between MetroCare Physicians and Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare that has developed a patient-centered medical home model for the Mid-South region called Memphis Accountable Care Home.

The Health eShare Direct Project pilot is spearheaded by the Tennessee Regional Extension Center, or tnREC, a division of Qsource, a nonprofit healthcare quality improvement and IT consultancy supported by the Tennessee Office of eHealth Initiatives. Qsource will work with providers to familiarize them with Direct technology, officials said.

"In an era where healthcare spending is under the microscope, we want to ensure providers can always offer high-quality care while reducing costs," said Mitch Graves, CEO of Health Choice, in a press statement.

Deploying Direct messaging to transmit data among providers, hospitals, home health agencies and nursing homes "is the best way to do that," he said. "We’re excited to be part of the Health eShare Direct Project, and we encourage other providers to join us.”

Health organizations that want to sign up for a Direct account can visit healthesharetn.com, officials said. An incentive program is available for early adopters to help offset the cost of signing up for a Direct account.

“Participating in the Health eShare Direct Project will build much-needed informational bridges among providers that will improve patient care, which is our ultimate goal,” said Laurene Vamprine, vice president and CIO of Erlanger Health System, in a statement.

Qsource has partnered with Nashville-based ICA as a certified health information service provider for the pilot, which will last for three months, officials said.

“The project is a great opportunity for healthcare providers to effortlessly comply with federal requirements governing health information exchange,” said George Beckett, health IT coordinator for the Tennessee Office of eHealth Initiatives, in a statement. “Once these providers in Chattanooga and Memphis begin using Direct services to communicate and share information, we hope they will be excited about how easy it is to use and will quickly see the time-saving and cost-saving benefits.”

[See also: Tennessee builds statewide health information network]