GaHIN Achieves Key Milestone With National Connectivity
Earlier this summer, GaHIN reached a significant milestone with its connection to the National eHealth Exchange—ultimately setting the stage for state-to-state connectivity. GaHIN also upgraded its GeorgiaDirect product to include access to the national DirectTrust Community, further expanding secure information sharing capabilities for its members. As a way of saying “Thank You” for subscribing to our GaHIN Newsletter, we are extending a personal invitation for you to participate in the 9th Annual Georgia HIMSS Healthcare Trade Faire and Regional Conference as our guest, where GaHIN members will be demonstrating the network’s connectivity. You can read about these opportunities and more in this edition of the GaHIN Newsletter.
Georgia Health Information Network
Letter from the Executive Director
It’s been a busy summer and I am excited to share highlights about the Network’s tremendous growth in member connectivity, including nearly 16 million patient records, and GaHIN’s historic connection to the national exchange.
GaHIN now has more than 2,780 registered providers taking advantage of our GeorgiaDirect product. We have 18 organizations implementing the GeorgiaDirect functionality/protocol directly into their EHRs. GaHIN is now a member of DirectTrust, enabling our members to securely exchange information nationally with other providers using DirectTrust. GeorgiaDirect is ideal for providers without robust EHRs who need a way to exchange information. Small physician practices, long-term care facilities and home health organizations are ideal candidates.
Through Georgia ConnectedCare, our robust query-connection product, we now have seven active connections, including Emory Healthcare and Grady Health System. We have several members in the implementation phases that will go live in the Fall. We also just recently updated our website to provide you with more information about our products and our connected members.
In addition to growing our Georgia membersship, GaHIN is now connected to the national network, eHealth Exchange, which paves the way for state-to-state connectivity and secure sharing of health records and patient information across state borders. After completing rigorous technology and security requirements, we are currently working with neighboring states to establish regional connectivity.
GaHIN has an exceptional Board of Directors, which is comprised of top executives from varied industries throughout Georgia. In fact, one of our GaHIN Board Members and strongest supporters, Dr. Warren Hutchings, has received the Distinguished Service Medallion from the Georgia State Medical Association. In this newsletter, we will spotlight Dr. Hutchings and his perspective on health information exchange.
In an effort to help educate healthcare professionals and organizations statewide on Georgia’s health information landscape, our GaHIN team joined HomeTown Health, GA-HITEC and DCH on the HomeTown Health Rural Bus Tour, which was a great success. Driving hundreds of miles through our state, the “Bus Tour” gave us the opportunity to provide outreach and education to hospitals and physicians in seven rural markets in Georgia. Discussion topics included the importance of secure health information exchange, Meaningful Use requirements, and the valuable resources provided by key organizations throughout the state. We certainly understand that many of you are actively working on Meaningful Use, so we've included an article on the updated timeline for attestation.
Lastly, GaHIN will be participating as a key event partner at this year’s Georgia HIMSS Healthcare Conference, where I will be joined by our member and technology partners in presenting two breakout sessions specific to our organization and focus. I invite you to join me there as GaHIN's guest—details on how to reserve your space are included in the Georgia HIMSS newsletter article.
I look forward to seeing you in person at the Georgia HIMSS Trade Faire in October!
Health Information Technology
GaHIN Invites Members to Participate in the 9th Annual Georgia Healthcare Trade Faire and Regional Conference
GaHIN to Host Two Sessions on Health Information Exchange
GaHIN is pleased to invite its current and future members to the Georgia Healthcare Trade Faire & Regional Conference, which takes place on October 16, 2014 at the Georgia World Congress Center. Partnering with the Georgia Chapter of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (GAHIMSS), GaHIN will host two sessions specific to Georgia’s Health Information Exchange. The sessions will include health information exchange demonstrations by GaHIN's members.
In its ninth year, this signature event is free to the staff members of provider organizations. The Conference focuses on Information Technology within the Healthcare Industry and the state of Georgia, to include Health Information Exchange, Meaningful Use, Emerging Technologies and Clinical Informatics.
The conference provides a day-long immersion into Healthcare Information Technology through panel sessions, speakers and vendor presentations. Local thought leaders discuss issues, trends and the future direction of health information technology.
GaHIN Connects GeorgiaDirect to National DirectTrust Community
GaHIN recently upgraded its GeorgiaDirect product to include access to the DirectTrust Community, further expanding provider reach, secure collaboration and messaging capabilities. GeorgiaDirect now connects with a national network of providers and facilities—all members of the DirectTrust Community—that have agreed to adhere to specific policies to ensure the secure exchange of clinical data. This secure messaging system allows providers to easily exchange clinical information about patients who may be traveling, relocating to another area of the country or requiring medical care within Georgia’s borders.
GeorgiaDirect users can now communicate with a larger number of healthcare providers state- and nationwide who are also part of the national DirectTrust. See the list of healthcare providers that are using GeorgiaDirect to create efficiency in their practice.
GaHIN Connection to National eHealth Exchange Paves the Way for State-to-State Exchange of Health Information
GaHIN recently announced its connection with the eHealth Exchange (formerly known as the Nationwide Health Information Network). The national Exchange was established to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare by establishing a mechanism for sharing nationwide health information. Participating in one of the nation’s leading healthcare information exchanges, GaHIN’s national connectivity status opens the gateway for the seamless, meaningful exchange of medical records.
GaHIN’s members now have access to the national network, and are able to augment their continuity of care by enhancing patient care coordination among other authorized providers and affiliates nationwide.
How Can GaHIN Help Members Achieve Meaningful Use Stage 1 and 2?
The Georgia Health Information Network (GaHIN) is continuing to support its members as they move from creating health information for Stage 1, to securely exchanging information in Stage 2, to understanding the requirements for Stage 3. GaHIN members across the state are using GaHIN's suite of GeorgiaDirect and Georgia ConnectedCare products and technologies.
In December 2013, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a new timeline for the implementation of Meaningful Use.
- Stage 2 will be extended through 2016
- Stage 3 will begin in 2017 for providers who have completed at least two years in Stage 2.
CMS will provide incentive payments to eligible professionals and hospitals that adopt, implement, upgrade or demonstrate Meaningful Use of certified electronic health record (EHR) technology.
Last May, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that more than half of doctors and eligible providers were adopting or meaningfully using electronic health record systems. However, attaining Meaningful Use can be a huge undertaking for any physician.
Fortunately for Georgia’s physicians and health organizations, GaHIN’s GeorgiaDirect and Georgia ConnectedCare products are readily available and able to help members achieve Meaningful Use.
GeorgiaDirect is a free service that enables GaHIN members to exchange information through a secure email messaging system—such as lab results, x-ray reports, referrals, patient data, and transition of care documents, and much more—to a network of trusted providers.
This system facilitates patient referrals, admissions, transition of care, and hospital discharge to enable more streamlined coordination and collaboration surrounding patient care to ultimately improve health outcomes.
Because GeorgiaDirect allows providers to electronically transmit patient health information to providers outside their organization—and allows for exchange of electronic health records—it is a quick, easy way for providers to meet the exchange requirements for Stages 1 and 2 Meaningful Use.
Georgia ConnectedCare is GaHIN’s query-based exchange core service—an innovative technology solution that offers healthcare providers the ability to securely find patients, wherever and whenever they seek care—directly through their electronic health record systems.
The data capture and reporting capability within Georgia ConnectedCare facilitates several aspects of Meaningful Use Stage 2 and public health reporting, including Medicaid health and pharmacy information, as well as immunization updates and reporting from the Georgia Registry of Immunization Transactions and Services (GRITS), managed by the Department of Public Health.
GaHIN members can elect to use either GeorgiaDirect or Georgia ConnectedCare, or both products, offering flexibility depending upon what the member’s individual needs may be. These products serve to minimize manual and often time-consuming processes, with the ultimate goal to help raise the bar in patient care, while simultaneously lowering healthcare costs. GaHIN offers both products to Georgia providers at no cost. To learn more about how GaHIN products and services help providers meet Meaningful Use, visit www.gahin.org.
In addition to a robust suite of products, which are backed by some of the nation’s best technologies, GaHIN partners with a variety of other organizations—such as Georgia Health Information Technology Extension Center (GA-HITEC)—that can help assess providers’ Meaningful Use attestation progress.
GaHIN will continue to provide information and resources to help educate members on Meaningful Use requirements and attestation through new web content and future newsletter articles. If you would like to have your Meaningful Use attestation progress assessed, or if you would like assistance in achieving Meaningful Use (Stage 1 or 2), please contact GA-HITEC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Connecting the docs
Dr. Warren Hutchings—Improving the Healthcare Environment through one of Georgia’s Regional HIEs
Georgia Health Information Network (GaHIN) Board member, Warren Hutchings, M.D., of the Atlanta-based Georgia State Medical Association (GSMA), was awarded the Distinguished Service Medallion for his numerous years of dedication to the Association. As the outgoing chair of the GSMA, Dr. Hutchings was recognized for his many years of dedication to the Association’s growth, development and promotion at the Association’s annual convention at Hilton Head Island, SC, on June 12, 2014.
Dr. Hutchings currently serves on GaHIN’s Regional Health Information Exchange Committee, and for the past three years, he has offered GaHIN invaluable insight from the provider’s perspective, both as an individual clinician and as a member of a larger organization. At present, he is the medical director for Mercer University’s Student Health Center. Dr. Hutchings provides GaHIN insight on what practicing physicians face daily regarding connectivity and stability issues involving electronic health records (EHR) and electronic health information exchange.
GaHIN Supports Rural Physician Outreach Through HomeTown Health Bus Tour
The Georgia Health Information Network (GaHIN) recently participated in the HomeTown Health Rural Physician Outreach Bus Tour—a mobile suite of Health IT resources for rural physicians and practice managers. The goal of the Bus Tour was to provide much-needed technical assistance and education to help providers with meaningful use attestation. GaHIN experts traveled throughout the state of Georgia—visiting seven hospitals in two days—educating physicians on the GaHIN products, GeorgiaDirect and Georgia ConnectedCare.
GaHIN Chairman: Dennis White
GaHIN Executive Director: Denise Hines
GaHIN Vice Chairman: James R. Morrow, MD
Georgia State Health IT Coordinator: Russell Crutchfield