Sharing information between primary care physicians, specialists, and other healthcare providers to improve the quality of care is a critical provision of the Affordable Care Act.
Although doctors welcomethese systems as a way to improve care coordination and reduce medical errors,according to recent survey by the Bipartisan Policy Center, it’s also probably one of the most challenging systems to set up.
Enter GSI Health, a healthcare information service provider presenting at Health 2.0 today as a Top 10 DC to VC finalist. In addition to providing workflow and care coordination apps, it helps providers set up health information exchanges. It also works with states in a federal initiative to help providers who lack the budget to set up an electronic healthrecord system to set up secure HIPAA-compliant e-mail systems , called the DIRECT project. It also played a key leadership role in helping to map out the project’s messaging system with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. In particular, it worked on setting up directories of secure physician and caregiver email addresses and sending messages to multiple providers supporting coordinated care.
LeRoy Jones, the CEO and co-founder, has managed the Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel for the American National Standards Institute. He also worked on the design of the New York eHealth Collaborative and the Statewide Health Information Network for New York. Prior to GSI Health, Jones was chief technology officer at Care Science (acquired by Premier in 2007), a University of Pennsylvania spin-off founded by Wharton School professor Dr. David Brailer.
GSI Health is working as a vendor in Arizona and Texasfor this program, particularly in rural areas. Itsservices canfacilitatephysician referrals, e-prescriptions fromregional pharmacies,maintain an up-to-date list of current and active diagnoses, an active medication list, provide patients with an electronic copy of their health information and electronic copies of discharge instructions.Among the goals are avoiding duplicating tests, and reducing hospital readmissions.
One area where sharing information between healthcare facilities would be particularly useful is when a patient is being treated for one malady but may have an underlying condition. For example, a patient may be treated for cancer but what if they have diabetes? That’s the kind of information providers should know to avoid certain medications or treatments that could cause complications, but a situation in which a patient or caregiver may not be in a position to offer that data.
With providers at risk for Medicare reimbursement penalties for higher than average readmission rates for certain conditions, havingaccess tovital patient informationis critical.
“More providers have payment at risk for quality outcomes so coordinating care withother providersis becoming more and more critical.”
One of the greatest challenges providers are experiencing with setting up health information exchanges is communicating with other institutions that may have incompatible systems.
“We are very agnostic to existing systems,” said Jones. “It’s something that’s commonly claimed by companies, but rare in practice.”
[Photo Credit: Big Stock Photo]
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