Children's Colorado connects to HIE

Connection expected to boost coordinated care
By Bernie Monegain
10:09 AM

Children’s Hospital Colorado has successfully connected to CORHIO, Colorado’s health information exchange (HIE).

By connecting its electronic health record system (EHR) with CORHIO's HIE, Children's Colorado is ensuring that its patients will receive better follow-up care with their regular pediatricians, family doctors and any other Colorado healthcare providers patients choose to visit and who are part of the CORHIO network, officials said.

Children's Colorado is known for being a pioneer in enhancing the quality and continuity of care for patients through health information technology. It was one of the first free-standing children's hospitals in the country with a fully integrated EHR.

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

Since 2009, Children's Colorado has been able to electronically share patient information with two Metro Denver area providers — Exempla Healthcare and Kaiser Permanente Colorado — through functionality in their Epic EHR software system, and has since added University of Colorado Hospital.

Despite the important advancements that the shared Epic network has brought to coordinating care for some Metro Denver patients, it doesn't allow the vast majority of independent, community-based medical practitioners to access and share information as needed because they use a different EHR product or none at all. To ensure that all patients can benefit from better care coordination, Children's Colorado connected to the CORHIO HIE, which can connect to virtually any ONC-certified EHR product, in addition to medical offices that do not use an EHR system, officials added.

[See also: CORHIO puts an emphasis on community.]

"We've seen first-hand that real-time accessible information for patients and healthcare providers is a meaningful step towards high-quality, coordinated care," said Children's Hospital Colorado President and CEO Jim Shmerling, who also is board chair for CORHIO. "We've joined CORHIO to broaden the HIE networks we already have in place and to ensure the medical treatment we provide is immediate and safer for our patients from all corners of the state."

By joining the CORHIO HIE, Children's Colorado providers will be able to share vital patient information with community-based providers across the state, Shmerling said. The HIE gives physicians and other care providers access to health information about their patients including hospital discharge notifications, lab test results, X-ray, MRI and other imaging reports, physician transcription reports and referral information. Later, the network will be upgraded to include patient medication lists, allergies and immunizations.

"We have a great working relationship with the practitioners at Children's Colorado and look forward to receiving even more data in an even shorter timeframe now that they've made the CORHIO connection," said Adele Morano, MD, family practitioner with High Country Healthcare, PC, a primary care practice. "It is imperative that we know what has been done at Children's Colorado to help guide our patients and take better care of them when they return home to Summit County. We also look forward to lowering health care costs for everyone as a result of timely and complete communications – provider to provider."

Rhonda Koehn, CEO at High Country Healthcare added, "When we refer patients to Children's Colorado, we are now assured that their test results will come back to our providers quickly to facilitate needed services. When it's time for their local follow-up, we have all of the test results, specialists' notes and other critical details in advance, which allows us to explain even more thoroughly what their loved one has experienced and what may come next in their continuum of care."

"As a pediatrician, I can appreciate first-hand the importance of including Children's Hospital Colorado in the statewide exchange of clinical information," said Larry Wolk, MD, CORHIO's chief executive officer. "The information that Children's Colorado is providing through the HIE is critical for practitioners caring for children and will undoubtedly help improve the health of our children."