News Feature | June 2, 2014

Hospitals See Interoperability As Top Priority

Katie Wike

By Katie Wike, contributing writer

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For both St. Joseph Health and Avita Health System, connecting to other hospitals in the region was essential for accessing patient information.

In the case of the non-profit Catholic health care delivery system of St. Joseph Health, interoperability through health information exchanges was part of a “Data Driven Initiative.” The system plans to use InterSystems HealthShare to improve clinical outcomes through data sharing, improving workflow and reducing costs at the same time.

“Interoperability is strategic for us, because it will enable SJH to derive value from its data. Healthshare is enabling the use of a single hub from which data can be collected, aggregated and distributed to any destination,” said Bill Russell, SJH CIO in a press release. “HealthShare offers a robust integration platform that will support standardization and consolidation of the SJH electronic medical record (EMR) along with its interfaces.”

“HealthShare not only supports the integration requirements of a typical health information exchange (HIE), but also provides a software development environment that SJH and its partners can leverage to build clinical and patient portals, with actionable and innovative workflows that improve the user experience. This will help us extend our vision to the patient and provider community,” Russell added.

St. Joseph Health’s HealthShare HIE went live in January 2014 and functions as a data integration platform.

Another provider recognizing the need for interoperability is Avita Health System in Ohio. This health system has selected NextGen Healthcare to facilitate their goals of achieving enhanced interoperability and care coordination.

“We recognized the pressing need to implement a fully integrated system along with a technology partner that would streamline our processes, improve our organizational efficiencies, and support our continued growth,” said Alex Reed, director of information services for Avita Health System in a press release.

“Our overall mission is to improve the health and wellbeing of those we serve and with NextGen Healthcare, we found a partner with a proven track record that shares our vision for improving patient outcomes and achieving concrete results. We are confident that implementing these leading NextGen Healthcare solutions will not only help us meet regulatory requirements, but also improve the connectivity and communications between physicians, patients and our entire health system.”

NextGen EHR Connect will allow Avita Health System to exchange standards-based data with CliniSync, the statewide Health Information Exchange (HIE) in Ohio. CliniSync is already widely used in the state, where 90 percent of the hospitals participate in some type of health exchange.

“Ohio has made tremendous advancements in its implementation of an HIE. Initially funded by HITECH dollars, CliniSync is the statewide health information exchange, which 141 Ohio hospitals and roughly 1,000 independent physicians use to transfer patient data electronically. Thanks to CliniSync, more than 87 percent of Ohioans are in some way using the state’s HIE through their provider,” notes a brief from the Center for Health Affairs.