Quality Health Network eNewsletter
June, 2014

The Value of HIE in MU2 Transitions of Care Solutions 

As hospitals and providers move through the EHR Incentive, Meaningful Use (MU) program to Stage 2, they are presented with an increased emphasis on the exchange of health information to support patient transitions of care (ToC). MU2 includes several ToC requirements, the most significant of which is this: Providers and hospitals that transition a patient to another provider or care setting must provide an electronic summary-of-care document for more than 10 percent of these transitions.

 

Meeting the ToC measure has provided a unique catalyst to explore solutions enabled by health IT to support healthcare transformation in medical communities across western Colorado. Throughout the area, we continue to see examples of hospitals, providers and other healthcare services coming together as a community to improve patient outcomes.

 

One such area is Montrose, Colorado, where Montrose Memorial Hospital (MMH) is working together with their medical staff and referral community to meet MU2 and improve care for their entire medical neighborhood. MU2 presents some technology challenges, however how it is deployed to make the data valuable to both senders and receivers is an even bigger challenge. 

 

"We have a good working relationship with our medical staff here in the Montrose area and we all support one another in our efforts to improve patient care," says Mary Snyder, COO at MMH. "We selected to work through QHN, a company we are all familiar with, to be able to provide the services we need. The transition of care document will be very helpful to all entities that we work with as far as transitioning care from our facility to another care setting and to make it as simple and useful as possible."

 

Frequently the conversation around MU2 focuses too much on technology and not enough on people and process, realistic workflow and the greater value of understanding how to best 'close the loop' on the transition. For providers to use technology, it has to be valuable and integrated into their current clinical practice. Most providers in the western Colorado medical trade area already have a relationship with QHN's network and have established QHN functionality into their workflow.

 

QHN has established relationships and agreements with providers and hospitals in the region and building on that common framework to support the ToC work is a natural progression. The value that comes from this network, where everyone plays by the same rules, under existing agreements, cannot be underestimated in the quest to derive the real value of health information exchange.

 

"We wanted to partner with someone who had an established network of users, addresses, etc. so that we could reach out to and meet the MU requirements," said Al White, MMH, CFO. "In addition, being able to access information across a network is invaluable and so what we looked for was an organization that had an established network in our area and that would definitely be QHN." 

 

"Seeing that the physicians are already members of QHN, bringing in QHN for our HISP just makes it easier," says Carlos Lovera, MMH Director of IT.  "Starting with an unknown company we would have to re-educate the physicians, they are already familiar with QHN, they already have a trust relationship with QHN, making it an easier transition into what we need to do." 

 

Community Hospital in Grand Junction, Colorado is also looking to QHN to provide their MU2 ToC solution. "Back when we did our first reading of the Stage 2 requirements, the initial thoughts were "we have QHN", this should be easy.  As we studied the complexities of secure transmission, we realized that it was not going to be "easy" however; we still considered that QHN would be there to help us," said Randy Ferguson, Director of Information Technology and the MU team at Community. "We did explore a couple of other options, but then came to the conclusion that QHN was the best value to meet our needs." 

Mary Brown to Retire as QHN's Director of External Affairs 

Mary Brown, QHN's Director of External Affairs announced her retirement effective July 2, 2014. Brown's decision to retire will bring to a close a remarkable career of dedicated service working in local government, civic leadership, public health and health information technology (HIT) advocacy. 

 

Brown has served as part of QHN's senior leadership team and director of external affairs since March, 2011, working to develop a wide-range of interrelated activities on the local, state and national level to advance the meaningful utilization of HIT. She represented the organization with elected officials, influential stakeholders, healthcare advocacy groups and government designated healthcare providers. Brown served as an advocate with regulatory agencies and elected officials to mobilize the deployment of innovative healthcare information technology applications to improve healthcare outcomes, quality and cost-effectiveness and promote patient engagement.

 

The ability to craft strategic solutions among parties with disparate viewpoints has been key to her success in this position. Prior to joining QHN Brown was the Manager of External Affairs for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, a principal at InterMountain Corporate Affairs and served in numerous elected and appointed positions including the Steamboat Springs city council.

 

As a resident of Steamboat Springs and part of the Grand Junction based QHN team, Brown brought a unique perspective to issues that can only come from living and working in the rural, frontier area of Colorado for more than forty years. Brown has over twenty years' experience in public policy and advocacy and participated in the development of state and national efforts to more widely implement successful HIT initiatives.

 

"Mary has played a key role in advancing health in Colorado. Over the last several years, she moved beyond her philanthropic leadership roles in Northwest Colorado and has invested her time and wisdom in evolving non-profit systems and health information technology solutions," noted Sue Birch, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. "She has been a key player in developing Colorado's quickly emerging western slope and statewide health infrastructure solutions. We sincerely thank her for partnering to advance our health system transformation work in both the public and private sectors."        

 

Brown is a member of the eHealth Initiative (eHI) Policy Steering Committee and is the current Advocacy Chair for the Colorado Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (CHIMSS) Board of Directors.

 

"I have considered it a privilege to work at QHN and be a part of their visionary leadership team. QHN is on the leading edge of innovation in the HIT arena and I am very proud of what my QHN colleagues have accomplished together during almost a decade of both successes and challenges," said Brown. "Healthcare is in the process of being reinvented and HIT is squarely in the middle of this evolution. It's a very exciting time."

 

"Mary Brown is truly irreplaceable; she is an accomplished communicator and consensus builder with established local, state and national relationships skillfully representing the QHN stakeholders on all levels. She has been a valuable part of the QHN leadership team, but far beyond her role at QHN her advocacy for advancing the meaningful use of HIT has been a huge asset for all Coloradoans. She has the ability to make a difference in community projects of all kinds," said Dick Thompson, chief executive officer of QHN. "The QHN staff and board are grateful for the innumerable contributions she has made to improve the quality of healthcare through the use of HIT."

July Events and Education
Meaningful Use 
Hot Topics
Conference Call
 
July 16, 2014 
12:15 - 1:15 pm

 

Topic: 

Sneak Preview | New QHN Platform

 

Presenter:

Laura Head, QHN Interface Analyst & the QHN Clinical Team 

 

Join the call

MU2 Transitions in Care:
How HISP and Direct are part of the solution
July 1, 2014
11:00 am - 2:00 pm

Montrose Memorial Hospital

Your Comments

Requested on Proposed MU2 Delay.

 

QHN is helping facilitate the collection of comments on the proposed modifications to the EHR Incentive Programs that would provide options for MU Eligible Professionals and Hospitals to use earlier editions of certified EHR technology for 2014 MU reporting in addition to finalizing the delay of Stage 3.

 

Here are four easy options for you to provide comment.

QHN Website Gets a Makeover
 

QHN has just gone live with a new website to help ease your search and navigation for QHN topics of interest on your computer, tablet, or mobile phone. 


Although the site has a new look and feel, we have kept the same web address. Please take a minute to update links you may have saved. Below are a few frequently visited pages: 

We look forward to better serving our customers with this new resource. 

Contact Information

Quality Health Network

970-248-0033 

QualityHealthNetwork.org

 

Mesa County Physicians

IPA
970-248-8031

Western Colorado IPA
970-249-6368

Mesa County Medical Society
970-243-2808

Mt. Sopris Medical Society
719-884-1184