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Quality Health Network eNewsletter
May, 2014

QHN Transitioning to New HIE System Solution

QHN is transitioning our Health Information Exchange (HIE) platform from Optum to Mirth Corporation. The migration and implementation of the new platform is targeted for completion summer of 2014. With this change QHN will have a much more reliable, flexible and scalable core solution, offering greater value to QHN participants.


After an extensive search process involving the review of multiple HIE systems, QHN selected the option to acquire the Mirth toolset. The powerful information sharing capabilities, ability to easily integrate with various technology platforms utilized by healthcare providers, organizations and government agencies across the state, and Mirth Corporation's experience making statewide health exchange initiatives successful and sustainable were all key factors in the decision.


The new QHN platform solution benefits include:

  • Better technology, greater system flexibility and the ability to support QHN's long-term vision of delivering high value HIE solutions
  • Additional HIE functions and capabilities including alerts/notifications, CCD exchange, clinical messaging and Direct secure mail exchange with providers
  • Enhanced support for healthcare facilities and providers to meet Meaningful Use milestones and objectives

While the initial focus of the transition to the new QHN platform is to ensure that all current functionality is in place when launched, many new features and functions are planned as part of the new HIE solution. Some of this functionality is available immediately, such as QHN Direct, some will be rolled-out after the launch. Learn more about QHN's new platform.

QHN Direct - Creating a Communitywide Transitions in Care Solution 

The QHN April 17 Transitions in Care (TOC) conference offered participants the opportunity to explore the role of HISP and Direct in MU Stage 2 and how QHN Direct supports providers in qualifying for EHR Incentive Payments. QHN Direct offers a secure, standards-based way to send encrypted health information directly to known, trusted recipients over the Internet. QHN Direct is being offered to QHN Users as part of their current subscription if they enroll before July 1, 2014.


As part of the day's events participants explored various HISP /Direct use cases and solutions. In order to attest for MU Stage 2, providers need to perform certain activities using certified EHR technology (CEHRT) which includes Direct secure messaging. Leveraging the Direct protocol for data exchange requires the use of a Health Internet Service Provider (HISP). QHN is a HISP and will be offering HISP to HISP connectivity. Learn more about HISP.


Participants looked at the option of a decentralized model  were providers must manage the significant inconvenience of multiple logins, one for each of their referring provider's HISP services, and the advantages of creating a communitywide "hub and spoke" solution with one login and a centralized Direct address book offered by QHN.  


"We are looking at using QHN Direct as a solution within our EHR. To not look at a solution using the QHN Direct hub and spoke model, which has worked so well for us in the past, is a huge step backwards," said Michael Miller, IT Director for Primary Care Partners. "As I look at the solutions offered by the various EHRs I just can't help but think how confusing and fragmented this communication could be, without QHN Direct, especially for specialists. They could be receiving messages from, and having to login into, 20-25 different Direct accounts." 


HISPs perform two key functions that support scalability of exchange using the Direct standard: 1) Issue security certificates to establish trust networks by defining policies for network participation, 2) Issue direct addresses (QHN is creating and maintaining a community address book) in accordance with conventions defined by the Direct standard.  


"I'm also uncomfortable with some of the EHRs messaging solutions; I don't want PHI traveling in the public sector. Through QHN I know trust agreements are in place with all participants (ecommerce and BAA agreements) and the information is secure and encrypted," says Miller.


Direct facilitates only the simplest form of "push" health information exchange. It does not support more sophisticated data queries that involve the "pulling" of data from a repository (Virtual Health Record) by clinicians seeking integrated data from multiple clinical sources. 


These more complex data exchange requirements will become more important in MU Stage 3, however not all providers are thinking that far ahead. Some clinicians see Direct messaging as a shortcut to achieving MU Stage 2 data exchange requirements, but may overlook how to accomplish more complex meaningful data sharing required as the MU continuum progresses.

Dr. Greenlee Achieves Patient-Centered Specialty Practice (PCSP) Recognition

The National Committee for Quality Assurance's (NCQA) Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) recognition unveiled the process for PCSP recognition in March of 2013. NCQA doesn't apply the term "medical home" to the specialty practices that achieve this distinction, but recognizes practices that follow key tenets of the PCMH model. Recognition is based on a medical neighborhood concept; focusing on specialists' role as "good neighbors" in the medical community.


Dr. Carol Greenlee, Grand Junction Endocrinologist, achieved PCSP recognition in April of 2014 and is the only specialist to achieve this recognition, to date, in Colorado. The robust set of criteria is a multi-step process that evaluates a specialty practices' ability to provide timely access to specialists, coordinate care with primary care, seamlessly transition patients between care settings and demonstrate continuous quality improvement. 

You Can Still Attest for MU Stage 1, Receive EHR Incentive Payment and Avoid 2016 Penalties 

A provider who has never attested to Meaningful Use who attests after 10/1/2014, but before 2/28/2015 (using 2014 data) will receive an incentive payment.


If a provider attests after 10/1/2014, they will be penalized -2% (the penalty is only 1% if the provider participated in the eRx program) of your Medicare allowable in 2015, however because you attested in 2014 you will avoid penalty in 2016.


If a provider who has never attested to Meaningful Use and won't be able to attest by 10/1/2014, but qualifies for one of the hardship exemptions, he/she can submit a hardship exemption request to avoid 2015 penalties but still attest later in the year to receive and EHR Incentive payment. 

MAY Educational Events
Meaningful Use 
Hot Topics
Conference Call
May 21, 2014 

12:15 - 1:15 pm



Understanding the EHR Lexicon, PQRS, MU & VBPM 



Andrew Bienstock, Quality Improvement Specialist at CFMC


Join the call

MU 2 Transitions in Care:
How HISP and Direct are part of the solution
May 27, 2014
11:00 am - 2:00 pm

Aspen Valley Hospital

Understanding the EHR Lexicon: PQRS, MU & VBPM:

June 12, 2014
12:00 - 1:00 pm

Valley View Hospital
Glenwood Springs 

2014 Meaningful Use Workbooks for Eligible Professionals Now Available.

Visit the QHN MU Resources Page.


Post Payment Audits Tip Sheet.


Contact Information

Quality Health Network



Mesa County Physicians IPA


Western Colorado IPA

Mesa County Medical Society

Mt. Sopris Medical Society