Published On: May 20, 2010
Health Information Exchange to Improve Quality of Patient Care, Reduce Costs
DENVER, CO – May 20, 2010 – CORHIO, the Colorado Regional Health Information Organization, announced today that it will use a technology platform developed by Salt Lake City-based Medicity to build the state’s health information exchange.
“The selection of Medicity is a first step towards building a statewide information network, which is vital to improving today’s health care system,” said Joan Henneberry, the executive director of Colorado’s Department of Health Care Policy and Financing and CORHIO Board Chair.
“Medicity was chosen due to its flexible technology platform, its ability to adapt to federal legislation affecting health information technology and its clear commitment to ensuring the success of health information exchanges in Colorado and other states,” CORHIO executive director Phyllis Albritton said.
Increasingly, physicians and hospitals are storing patient information in electronic medical records. Electronic medical records will realize their full value when health care providers can easily access and share that information in real-time. Ultimately, a statewide health information exchange (HIE) will let health care providers securely share clinical information and provide better, more efficient patient care. CORHIO is facilitating this electronic communication of clinical health information by building out the state’s HIE network.
“Most people we talk to in communities think their health information is already shared electronically and securely between their health care providers,” said Albritton. “In most cases, that’s not true. For example, it can take up to five days to send lab results to a doctor’s office because of the paper-based processes currently used in health care. Plus, whether the information is transmitted by fax, mail or courier, the information is more vulnerable to being lost or misused than when sent through a highly secure electronic health information exchange.
“So while doctors are moving from paper to electronic medical records, we are providing the platform that lets those records talk to each other in a safe and protected manner. We’re building a statewide system that allows all health care providers to access important patient information, which will lead to more efficient, higher quality care,” Albritton said.
CORHIO, a not-for-profit organization, is convening and collaborating with diverse groups of Colorado health care organizations and providers. CORHIO’s board of directors and partners include members from large, urban hospitals; rural hospitals and clinics; safety net and behavioral health providers; state health agencies; health plans; and health care associations representing 90 hospitals, more than 7,500 physicians and millions of patients statewide.
Starting with the signing of the contract with Medicity, CORHIO will use the company’s technology platform to implement health information exchanges across the state, starting with the San Luis Valley region. With letters of intent from health care organizations in Boulder, Colorado Springs, Northern Colorado and Denver, CORHIO plans to introduce HIE in a second region this summer as part of CORHIO’s strategy to implement HIE community-by-community.
In five years, CORHIO aims to connect over 85 percent of health care providers and hospitals in Colorado to the statewide HIE. CORHIO is collaborating with Quality Health Network (QHN), a regional HIE operating out of Grand Junction that currently provides services to health care providers in western Colorado.
The integrated statewide exchange will let physicians and other health care professionals access critical patient information faster, especially in emergencies; reduce wait times between medical testing and treatment; virtually end redundant and costly tests; decrease hospital readmissions; reduce the risk of medical mistakes; and lower the cost of health care overall.
“This is a step forward for improving patient care in Colorado. An increasing number of physicians within our state will have improved access to the right information about patients at the right time,” said Dick Thompson, the chief executive officer of QHN and CORHIO board member.
“Now that CORHIO has picked a vendor, we can continue our progress towards the goal of deploying health information exchange throughout our state,” Thompson said. “We can also now begin the process to link the QHN and CORHIO systems together.”
CORHIO chose Medicity after an eight-month review process that included more than 100 individuals representing hospitals, health clinics, physicians and health plans. CORHIO developed a request for proposal (RFP) based on a broad range of criteria developed by CORHIO and the volunteer stakeholders who worked to ensure that Colorado’s HIE vendor will meet the state’s short- and long-term needs.
“We are grateful to all of the individuals and organizations who invested countless hours and gave input and oversight to the vendor selection process,” said Carrie Book, CORHIO’s chief information officer.
While participation in CORHIO’s electronic health information exchange is voluntary, physicians who adopt meaningful use of the technology by 2014 may qualify for federal incentives of up to $44,000 to $64,000 per doctor. By contrast, beginning in 2015 payments will be frozen or reduced for doctors who are not meaningful users. After 2016, payments will be reduced for doctors who cannot demonstrate that they are meaningful users of health information exchange.
CORHIO is designated by the State of Colorado to facilitate a health information exchange (HIE) to improve health care quality for all Coloradans. CORHIO collaborates with health care stakeholders including physicians, hospitals, clinics, public health, long-term care, laboratories, health plans and patients to develop secure systems and processes for sharing clinical information. CORHIO is a not-for-profit supported by grants from the Colorado Health Foundation and from federal ARRA HITECH funds. For more information about CORHIO, please visit www.corhio.org.