Kaiser Permanente inks big HIE deal

By Erin McCann
10:20 AM
Colorado's largest nonprofit health plan has solidified a deal with the state's regional health information exchange, agreeing to participate in the network going forward. 
Kaiser Permanente Colorado, which currently serves some 545,000 members, announced Tuesday it would be the first health plan in the state to join the Colorado Regional Health Information Organization, a deal which officials say will provide Kaiser physicians with holistic data on their members when care is provided outside of the health plan's network.
Kaiser Permanente plans to initially utilize the HIE for members in southern Colorado, including Colorado Springs and Pueblo, and hopes to later expand to other parts of the state.
Kaiser Permanente Colorado had previously participated in a limited health information exchange pilot project with CORHIO, funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to share data among emergency departments. In 2010, the pilot project was transformed into a new, broader HIE network that enabled better care coordination across all healthcare settings, officials say. 
Currently, there are 31 hospitals, more than 1,300 office-based providers, 123 long-term and post-acute care facilities, 21 behavioral health centers and three large medical laboratories connected to the CORHIO HIE. Additionally, CORHIO is contracted with and in the process of connecting 17 additional hospitals, more than 700 additional office-based providers, three additional long-term and post-acute care providers, two behavioral health centers and two regional laboratories. Information exchanged between HIE participants is highly secure and restricted to authorized medical practitioners.
"This partnership with CORHIO will serve as a valuable addition to Kaiser Permanente's robust system of electronic medical records, allowing for enhanced care coordination and communication between our providers and partner hospitals in southern Colorado," says Donna Lynne, executive vice president of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan and president of Kaiser Permanente Colorado, in a press statement. "We are pleased to be the first Colorado health plan to join CORHIO's network, a system that is in line with our values of healthcare quality, efficiency and affordability."
"Kaiser Permanente is one of Colorado's largest healthcare organizations and we are delighted to be working with them to further enhance care coordination for their members," added Kelly Joines, interim chief executive officer at CORHIO, in a statement. "Kaiser Permanente clearly knows the importance of equipping doctors and other care providers with patients' most up-to-date medical information. It dramatically improves the overall patient experience and ensures that individuals are getting the best possible care.
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