Ohio HIE connects 100 plus hospitals

State has been cited by the ONC as a success model for health information technology
By Bernie Monegain
10:27 AM

Dan PaolettiOhio's CliniSync Health Information Exchange today announced the signing of 25-bed Harrison Community Hospital in Cadiz as well as 91-bed Wilson Memorial Hospital in Sidney, bringing the number of Ohio hospitals in the CliniSync statewide health information exchange to 101.

CliniSync makes it possible for hospitals, physicians, nurses and others who care for a patient to electronically share patient health information with one another. CliniSync is run by the nonprofit Ohio Health Information Partnership and is powered by Medicity, a provider of HIE technology. CliniSync is on a trajectory to become one of the largest public HIEs in the nation in 2014.

CliniSync allows facilities and practices with different electronic health record systems to directly communicate with one another. Previously, some physicians and hospitals could already electronically share patient information regionally or within their own systems, but the CliniSync exchange is statewide, crossing over the boundaries of hospital walls and health systems.

[See also: Ohio first state to use Direct messaging across state line.]

"While we're excited by our rapid progress and the collaboration of Ohio's hospitals and medical community, we're even more enthusiastic about what this exchange means for the care of Ohio's patients," Dan Paoletti, CEO of the Ohio Health Information Partnership, said in a news statement. "When physicians and clinicians can electronically talk with one another – no matter where their patient is treated – the potential for improved care, faster and more effective treatment, and better coordination among treating physicians and facilities can occur."

"CliniSync is making great strides in creating a connected health network in Ohio,” Medicity CEO Nancy Ham said in a news release. "Ready access to patient health information not only reduces the paperwork burden for physicians and patients, it can help improve health care decisions and outcomes. We are excited to be part of this work in Ohio."

The Partnership selected Medicity as its technology partner in April 2011. CliniSync initially received $14.9 million in federal grants from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

[See also: Ohio HIE finds its stride.]

In Ohio, the CliniSync HIE covers 77 out of Ohio's 88 counties with a potential network of 142 hospitals while HealthBridge, a Cincinnati-based regional HIE, connects the remaining southwestern Ohio counties and crosses over into Kentucky and Indiana, connecting 30 hospitals and 7,500 physicians. CliniSync and HealthBridge now share federal Direct protocols with one another so that physicians can communicate across the HIEs.

Through federal funding, CliniSync offers software powered by Medicity at no charge to practices, allowing them to share information with other CliniSync providers so they can send and receive secure, encrypted emails, can refer patients to one another with a management tool, and can receive results and reports directly from hospitals participating in CliniSync.

These reports and results include laboratory results (general chemistry, microbiology, blood bank and pathology), as well as radiology and other transcribed reports, such as care summaries, history and physicals and progress notes.

Ohio has been cited by the ONC as a success model for health information technology by assisting more than 6,000 primary care physicians in the adoption of electronic health records. In turn, physicians receive electronic health record incentive payments through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid when they use these records in ways that are meaningful for patients. To date, 17,096 providers have received $619.7 million in incentive payments, ranking Ohio sixth in the nation for the number of providers paid.

The next phase of CliniSync services will allow physicians to search for and find information about a patient who visited other providers, beginning with hospitals who adopted the technology early. This query and retrieval functionality will occur in the fourth quarter of 2013.