Clayton, Georgia (August 31, 2016) - HealtHIE Georgia, www.healtHIEgeorgia.org , a health information exchange, serving rural Georgia healthcare providers, is now connected with the Georgia Health Information Network (GaHIN), state-designated Health Information Exchange (HIE) entity for Georgia. By joining GaHIN, HealtHIE Georgia is able to securely access and share patient information at the point of care. Serving rural providers as a service area health information exchange on the GaHIN and powered by Envision, the connections established promote patient engagement and create a care coordination and data sharing structure for population management. The successful connections, established in Phase One, enable the secure passing of data between two hospitals, Dorminy Medical Center and Jeff Davis Hospital, and twenty-two clinics. Phase Two, scheduled for October through December of this year promises to pass data between six additional hospital facilities and numerous providers.
Focusing on the needs of rural hospitals and their practices, HealtHIE Georgia is a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation, enabling increased interoperability, improved technologies, health information exchange, education and training, pooled funding and resources, and greater economies of scale. Mark Renfro, Executive Director, states, "Empowering the rural hospitals and practices by focusing on building the foundation for care coordination will increase communication among providers, facilitating appropriate care while reducing duplication, with the goal to reduce costs and improve health outcomes".
The network that HealtHIE Georgia is now connected to is the Georgia Health Information Network (GaHIN), www.gahin.org, gives its members the ability to access a more complete view of their patient health information directly from their electronic health record (EHR) systems. For patients, that means easier, safer, and better healthcare-with an emphasis on privacy and security. The network's purpose is to close the patient information gap across all care settings and to support improved quality of care, better health outcomes and cost efficiencies. By establishing a trusted network with existing health networks, GaHIN facilitates the delivery of the right health information to the right place at the right time-providing the people of Georgia with safer, timelier and better care.
This progress is supported with ongoing education to enable better use of the new connections. HomeTown Health University (HTHU) www.hthu.net, is the chosen education provider for HealtHIE Georgia. This grant funded partnership provides HealtHIE Georgia education through live monthly webinars and online education. Health IT and Rural Medical Home Network Monthly Webinars are offered, on the 3rd Wednesday of each month at 12:30 p.m., at no charge to all rural hospitals in Georgia. The archived webinar education and additional online courses are available in the HTHU School of Health IT & Transformation http://hthu.net/course-catalog/school-of-hit/. Topics for hospitals and affiliated practices include Meaningful Use, EHR, HIE, HIT, Basic Networking, Interoperability, Community Connections, Care Transitions, Care Coordination, and more.
In addition, Envision, the IT partner of HealtHIE Georgia, provides comprehensive IT services and support to the participating physicians and facilities. Renfro notes that "connectivity between providers certainly provides benefits, but also brings with it new IT challenges; we are grateful to have the partners supporting our programs like Envision, so that clients can focus on core business functions and objectives rather than on IT".