Tennessee-based health network deploys new EHR, PM systems

By Kyle Hardy
10:21 AM

The Mountain States Health Alliance has deployed new electronic health record and practice management solutions for its 300 employed and affiliated physicians and mid-level providers.

The Johnson City, Tenn.-based network is using software developed by Chicago-based Allscripts-Misys Healthcare Solutions to enhance the quality of patient care, improve patient communications and better manage the cost of care delivery.

The alliance provides care to residents of 29 counties in Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky and North Carolina. Its integrated delivery system is comprised of 14 hospitals, 21 primary care centers and 231 employed physicians in 75 offices managed by the Blue Ridge Medical Management Corp., a wholly-owned MSHA subsidiary.

MSHA plans to integrate the Allscripts EHR with its Siemens Soarian hospital information system. The new system is designed to allow Blue Ridge and East Tennessee State University (ETSU) physicians to share up-to-date information on patients. Officials said physicians in all MSHA settings will have access to patient information including lab orders and test results, medications, problem lists, allergies and hospital discharge summaries.

"The Electronic Health Record is a critical initiative for our organization because it enables us to bring the future of healthcare to patients in our region," said Steve Kilgore, president of Blue Ridge. "Allscripts gives our providers the ability to connect to one another and to other providers throughout the region, leading to further integration, better coordination of care and ultimately improved outcomes for our patients."

Blue Ridge officials said all affiliated physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners will receive the Allscripts solutions, enabling Blue Ridge to join a connected community of caregivers, increasing sharing data capabilities for enhanced patient care across the community.

MSHA will provide the EHR at a subsidized rate for the 70 physicians of ETSU Physicians and Associates, the group practice of the James H. Quillen College of Medicine at ETSU. Officials said this initiative takes advantage of recent changes to the federal Stark regulations that allow hospitals to provide assistance to non-employed physicians in purchasing healthcare information technology.

Richard Eshbach, MSHA's vice president and CIO, said the health system plans to connect its EHR and inpatient systems to CareSpark, a non-profit regional health information exchange, to connect electronically with regional physicians using technology from other vendors.

MSHA is also planning to integrate its homecare solution to automate and connect Mountain States HomeCare & Hospice's 240 providers.

"Our goal is to integrate and share information back and forth between the home care, hospital and physician office settings for full clinical integration and improved patient care," said Eshbach.

MSHA officials said they will deploy a new clinical quality solution, also developed by Allscripts, which draws data from the EHR and practice management systems to automate quality reporting requirements of government and payer-funded "pay-for-performance" programs. MSHA will also be using the CQS to provide real-time clinical decision support information to improve the quality of patient care through proactive management of chronic diseases.