Creating a Connected Community to Support New Payment Models
New payment models, such as ACOs, utilize team-based care requiring providers to work together, coordinate care, and improve patient health across care facilities and specialties. At the core of these new models is the secure exchange of health information across disparate digital platforms, because each member of the care team must be able to quickly access complete, current, real-time patient information.

This health IT interoperability is a key driver for success in these new models, which pose greater risk for participants but also greater rewards. Without interoperability and care coordination, there might be little payoff to participating in an ACO. If ACO members aren't able to share information with one another to reduce duplicative procedures and other excess costs, then they likely won't see the financial rewards of these demanding new programs.

Health information exchange (HIE) as a verb

The industry needs to evolve from simply exchanging information to establishing routine quick and easy processes to securely share relevant patient information to support better workflows. To further their care coordination process work Montrose Memorial Hospital (MMH) recently organized a community-wide seminar titled Let's Get Connected. "There were several motivators for us to get connected, one is meeting meaningful use, and we are launching an ACO," said Pam Foyster, MU coordinator for Montrose Memorial Hospital. "I understood we had a learning curve to exchanging continuity of care documents (CCDs) and using Direct appropriately that added to our need to connect with our community of providers. Many in our community are very motivated and trying to learn more about health information exchange as a verb, not just a noun, and how we do this together. I think as a hospital we have the responsibly to initiate the patient hand-off."   
Study Shows HIE Utilization Reduces Repeat Imaging Costs
A recent research study published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology showed that providers who access patient records through health information exchange (HIE) order fewer repeat X-rays, ultrasounds and other imaging tests, resulting in cost savings. The study was conducted using a cohort of 12,620 patients who underwent imaging procedures during 2009 and 2010. The patients consented to have their information made accessible to providers participating in the Rochester Regional Health Information Organization (RHIO), a non-profit HIE in a 13-county region in western New York State.

Understanding the relationship between accessing patient information in an HIE and imaging costs is critical given imaging procedures constitute a large portion of healthcare expenditures. The federal Medicare program alone spends $10 billion annually on medical imaging, and repeat imaging is a substantial contributor to imaging costs.

HIE system use avoided repeat imaging

In the study, investigators from Weill Cornell Medicine examined the relationship between provider use of HIE and cost savings associated with repeat imaging. Cost savings were estimated by determining the number of potentially avoided repeat imaging studies attributable to HIE system use. The results support the study hypothesis that enabling provider access to existing patient information may lower costs through reductions in repeat imaging.

"Having the actual radiologic images (and not just the report) available on QHN, significantly enhances patient care, noted Dr. Michael Neste, Radiology Medical Director at Colorado Canyons Hospital and Medical Center. "The ordering clinician can now view the images from any personal computer and the "share session" function allows for remote real-time interaction with the radiologist. The ability to exchange images, through the HIE, can also reduce the number of redundant exams that are ordered, which in turn helps contain costs."  
Colorado HIEs Selected to Enhance Exchange of Ambulatory Data
QHN is participating in the Colorado Advanced Interoperability Initiative (CAII) in partnership with CORHIO and Colorado's Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to offer qualified practices the opportunity to enhance their value and participation in the QHN HIE by initiating CCD and encounter based data exchange.

The goal of CAII is to improve transitions of care and to support ambulatory providers, behavioral health, and long-term / post-acute care organizations via the exchange clinical data. This enhanced and expanded data exchange helps to enrich and create a more complete patient longitudinal health record in the HIE.  
Exchanging more ambulatory encounter information

This work will help support clinical data exchange to assist in provider referrals for specialty care, transitions of care, quality and registry reporting and other applications. QHN will be working with ambulatory providers to initiate Continuity of Care Documents (CCD) and encounter data exchange. Long-term and post-acute care providers will be able to share the Minimum Data Set (MDS) and Outcome and Assessment Information Set (OASIS) information they are already required to send to CMS through a tool that converts the data into CCDs. QHN is working with Mind Springs Health to electronically exchange behavioral health information, conforming to all privacy regulations, made possible by the consent management options available in our new HIE platform.

SIM: First Cohort of Primary Care Practices Selected 
On Friday March 4, the Colorado SIM office announced the first cohort of primary care practices that have been selected to participate in the SIM initiative practice transformation activities. These practices will set the stage as Colorado works toward the goal of being the healthiest state in the nation and having 80 percent of Colorado residents in coordinated systems with integrated primary care and behavioral health to support value-based payment models by 2019. View a list of practices selected

The interest in participating in the SIM program was high, with 188 practices applying for the first cohort 100 spots. SIM encourages primary care practices that were not selected to apply for cohorts two and three, which will begin in 2017 and 2018. For more information on SIM
It's Health Fair Season
Health Fairs are offered in communities throughout western Colorado. If a patient consents to electronic delivery of their results to QHN their blood testing results will be available in the Patient Summary of the QHN system.

When the results flow into the QHN system varies as most Fairs now offer a early blood draw option. However, all results are typically in the system a few days following the actual Fair. 

March Hot Topics Conference Call

Date: March 16, 2016,

Time: 12:15 -1:15 PM

dialogue with Dick Thompson,  

   QHN Executive Director

QHN System Quick Tip: 
We want to help you QUICKLY find what you are looking for in the QHN system. Click below to to see a 15 second Tip on Image Exchange.   

Download the one page 
Image Exchange reference guide

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