Hospitals and Health Systems
Hospitals often serve as the center of the healthcare community, working with owned and independent physician groups and specialists, short-term and long-term care facilities, rehabilitation services, social services, state and national government departments, and many more groups.
The challenge for hospitals and healthcare systems is the need to connect with these multiple organizations and securely share patient data when each organization uses a different type of information system – if they use one at all.
The Interoperability Challenge
Interoperability between separate entities has been a challenge for the healthcare industry since the inception of electronic health records (EHRs). In fact, different departments within the same hospital may use different, specialty-specific software that can’t connect with primary EHR system.
Many hospitals have established a health information exchange (HIE) or health information service provider (HISP), allowing organizations and practices to share patient information. This can be very useful for the hospital, but it does limit them to information exchange within a narrow group which is usually geographically focused.
One and Done
By joining Georgia Health Information Network (GaHIN), hospitals and health systems can connect to a much broader range of organizations and improve the quality of care provided to patients. GaHIN is THE state health information exchange for Georgia, facilitating the real-time exchange of patient health data among physicians, hospitals, state agencies and other organizations.
Rather than build separate connections to a large number of different organizations, GaHIN delivers a “one and done” service. Hospitals and health systems that connect to GaHIN no longer have to worry about individual connections – instead they can exchange information through the Network.
Why participate in GaHIN?
While each hospital and health system must make their own decision on joining an HIE, the penultimate reason is to improve care quality. For example, an emergency room physician can use query-based exchange to access patient information such as medications, recent radiology images and problem lists, allowing the provider to adjust treatment plans to avoid adverse medication reactions or duplicate tests.
- Avoid readmissions through better coordination along the care continuum
- Improve patient safety by reducing medication and medical errors
- Increase efficiency by eliminating unnecessary paperwork and handling
- Improve patient satisfaction by eliminating duplicate forms and information requests
- Provide caregivers with clinical decision support tools for more effective care and treatment
- Eliminate redundant or unnecessary testing
- Improve public health reporting and monitoring
- Improve healthcare quality and outcomes