Mass HIway Implementation Grants Launched Today at Milford Regional Medical Center with Health Care Leaders & Public Officials will Accelerate Health Information Exchange
The Massachusetts eHealth Institute (MeHI) at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative hosted a community kickoff event this morning at Milford Regional Medical Center (MRMC) to highlight new grants designed to help local health providers use the state’s new Health Information Exchange, the Mass HIway. Recipients include regional health care leaders such as MRMC and their grant partners Medway Country Manor Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation and CAREtenders, as well as Charlton-based Overlook Visiting Nursing Association and their partner organization, Harrington Hospital. Leaders from MeHI, MassTech, and the grant recipients were joined by State Senator and President Pro Tempore Richard T. Moore, Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III, and Representative Peter Durant.
“Today was a great opportunity to meet some of the health care professionals who are using innovative technologies to improve efficiencies and reduce costs,” stated Pamela Goldberg, CEO of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. “Across Massachusetts, whether in a suburban or rural hospital, a local care facility, or in a patient’s home, technologies like the HIway are helping improve the delivery of health care.”
By using the state’s health information exchange, Mass HIway, health practitioners will be able to securely connect with and coordinate patient care with partner providers, including home health care agencies and skilled nursing facilities.
"The technology that will now be available for Milford and Harrington will help these two community-based hospitals to provide the best quality, safe and affordable health care,” said Senator Moore. “I am pleased that I was in a position to lead the establishment of our health IT initiative that will help so many of my constituents. "
“As our country works to implement comprehensive health care reform, innovative partnerships at the local level are more critical than ever,” said Congressman Kennedy. “The Milford area has long been a very bright spot in our Commonwealth’s health care system. With this well-deserved grant money, Milford Regional Medical Center and its many community partners will continue to lead the way. I’d like to thank Senator Moore for his continued advocacy, as well as the Mass Tech Collaborative for their unparalleled commitment to health care innovation.”
These grants are part of a statewide program of 32 collaborative projects that will allow 80 partnering health care organizations from across the Commonwealth to connect to the Mass HIway, enabling them to improve patient care and reduce costs.
MRMC received $75,000 to help practitioners at the Center to connect with partners such as Medway Country Manor Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation and CAREtenders, which will allow the hospital to securely transmit patient discharge information to these project partners, easing communication between the facilities and improving efficiency.
Francis M. Saba, CEO of Milford Regional Medical Center, described the benefits of this new approach.
“We look forward to a more efficient and secure means of communication between the Medical Center and other health care providers,” said Saba. “When a patient is discharged from the hospital, information essential to their care will now be sent instantly over the Mass HIway.”
Charlton-based Overlook Visiting Nursing Association, a division of Masonic Health System, received $65,673 to work with Harrington Hospital to improve the transmission of discharge information from hospital to home health care agency via the Mass HIway.
“We are thrilled to be selected for this grant and to partner with Harrington Hospital on this project,” stated Greg Abrams, Vice President of Information Technology at Masonic Health System. “Connection to the Mass HIway helps both organizations to position themselves well for the future of health care technology.”
“In today’s society and business world the use of technology has gone from simply being a convenience to an absolute necessity,” Durant said. “The Mass HIway is a perfect example of how we can use cutting edge technology to improve the lives and the healthcare of everyone in Massachusetts. This grant program shows the continued dedication that the Commonwealth has for this program, for the health and well-being of its residents, and for the healthcare providers who are the true heroes of any healthcare system.”
In 2012, MeHI and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services launched the statewide health information exchange, the MassHIway, allowing for secure electronic health information to be transmitted between health care providers and organizations. MeHI works to advance the use and interoperability of electronic health records by supporting adoption of the Mass HIway through the Last Mile Program.
Part of the Mass HIWay Last Mile Program, the Implementation Grants are designed to accelerate connections to the Mass HIway by shifting existing processes away from paper-based exchanges and those using proprietary interfaces, ultimately demonstrate measurable improvements in care quality, population health, and cost containment through use of health information technology. The Last Mile Program is funded through the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“With roughly 70% of the physicians and over 90% of the acute care hospitals in the Commonwealth using electronic health records, we are well on our way to making our health care data digital,” said Laurance Stuntz, Director of the Massachusetts eHealth Institute at MassTech. “Massachusetts has always been a leader in advancing health care and these implementation grants are helping health care organizations across the state securely and efficiently share this digital health care data, benefiting patients by reducing the overall cost and improving the quality of health care delivery.”
About the Massachusetts eHealth Institute
The Massachusetts eHealth Institute (MeHI) at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative is the state's entity for health care innovation, technology, and competitiveness and is responsible for advancing the dissemination of health information technology throughout Massachusetts, including the deployment of electronic health records systems in all health care provider settings and connecting them through the statewide health information exchange. For more information, visit mehi.masstech.org.
About the Mass HIway
The Massachusetts Health Information Highway (Mass HIway) is a collaboration between the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) and MeHI to deploy a secure statewide health information exchange. The Mass HIway enables the electronic movement of health related information among diverse organizations, such as doctors’ offices, hospitals, laboratories, pharmacies, skilled nursing facilities and health plans. The HIway facilitates the exchange of clinical information among varied health care information systems, while maintaining the meaning of the information being exchanged, regardless of provider affiliation, location or differences in technology. Using the HIway can give doctors and other clinicians a more comprehensive understanding of their patients’ full medical histories to inform a more complete delivery of their healthcare.