Patient FAQs

What is the Georgia Health Information Network (GaHIN)?

GaHIN is Georgia’s statewide health information exchange (HIE). We are a forward-looking, fiscally responsible, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the quality and cost-efficiency of care by facilitating interoperability and health information exchange to benefit providers and patients.

What is the purpose and overall responsibility of GaHIN?

GaHIN’s purpose is to close the patient information gap across all care settings by working with our stakeholders and vendors to electronically connect disparate systems and data sources in order to support improved quality of care and patient health outcomes and reductions in patient healthcare costs.

GaHIN is responsible for working through its vendors, who connect healthcare organizations and providers to the Georgia statewide health information network (the Network). Members can exchange health information while maintaining the privacy, security and accuracy of the information being exchanged.

The exchange of heath information and electronic health records (EHR) is protected and processed in accordance with standards set by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

What products and services does GaHIN offer?

GaHIN offers services that are designed to give secure access to critical protected health information (PHI) at the point of care and to foster greater provider-to-provider collaboration.

We understand that when it comes to health information exchange (HIE), one size does not fit all. That’s why we offer two complementary products — GeorgiaDirect and Georgia ConnectedCare.

GeorgiaDirect enables members to exchange information by Direct messaging, a secure email standard designed for healthcare.

Georgia ConnectedCare is a query-based exchange service—an innovative technology solution that offers healthcare providers the ability to securely locate and access patient health information directly through their electronic health record (EHR) system.

What is the technology structure supporting GaHIN?

The technology structure of GaHIN is supported through two vendors: Truven Health Analytics (Georgia ConnectedCare) and Medicity (GeorgiaDirect).

Truven Analytics (now part of IBM Watson Health) provides a flexible technology platform that is easily adaptable to federal legislation and regulations affecting health IT. With Truven’s platform, GaHIN also has the capability to connect with HIEs in Georgia and other states. This technology is used in the Georgia ConnectedCare product.

Medicity combines clinical data exchange with tools to engage collaboration and coordination between care professionals through secure, intuitive tools for referral management, messaging and transitions of care. This technology is used in the GeorgiaDirect product.

What is GeorgiaDirect?

GeorgiaDirect enables users to exchange information by Direct messaging, a secure email standard designed for healthcare.

Doctors, hospitals, labs, nursing stations—or any provider needing to share health information—is assigned a unique GeorgiaDirect address, such as city.hospital@gadirect.net. The web-based software enables an environment in which all messages sent from and received by that address can be protected and processed in accordance with standards set by HIPAA.

How is GeorgiaDirect used?

You can access GeorgiaDirect to send certain types of health information, such as lab results, X-ray reports, referrals, patient data, transition of care documents and much more, to a network of providers.

You can send up to 40 attachments within a single message, with multiple pages per attachment.

What are the benefits of GeorgiaDirect?

GeorgiaDirect is a free service that allows providers to share electronic health information to improve quality of care. Benefits include:

  • Delivery of secure, directed messaging of patient health information between known, trusted recipients to improve quality of care
  • Connection of healthcare stakeholders using a simple push of information
  • Facilitation of patient referrals, transition of care and hospital discharge
What are the system requirements to use GeorgiaDirect messaging?

GeorgiaDirect messaging is a web-based product that does not require setup by your IT department. You would only need access to the internet to utilize the service.

How can I sign up for GeorgiaDirect?

To sign up for GeorgiaDirect, please complete the form on “Contact Us.” Once you register, a Health Information Services Provider (HISP) administrator will contact you to schedule a demonstration, verify your practice and/or providers, and provide you with a Participation Agreement.

For more information, please contact the GaHIN office at info@gahin.org.

What is the GaHIN Network?

The Network supports the flow of protected health information between the different healthcare information technology (IT) systems that may be used by various Members and Member Affiliates such as physician practices, hospitals, long-term care facilities, labs, radiology centers, health plans, and other member organizations.

The Network allows for the delivery of the “right health information to the right place at the right time,” providing for safer, more timely and efficient patient-centered care. The Network can also help streamline healthcare providers’ reporting requirements to public health departments and the departments’ access to this information.

What is Georgia ConnectedCare?

Georgia ConnectedCare is a query-based service—an innovative technology solution that offers healthcare providers the ability to securely find patient information directly through their electronic health record systems.

Georgia ConnectedCare:

  • Facilitates both long-term and preventive care whether in a provider’s office, hospital, or other healthcare facility. This system also helps coordinate patient transfer within Georgia and across state lines.
  • Streamlines the data-retrieval process for patient medical records and government reports.
  • Eliminates unnecessary medications, tests and hospitalizations—not to mention costly courier fees. You only have to connect once instead of maintaining multiple costly provider connections.
Who is eligible to join GaHIN and access the GaHIN Network?

Any organization or person that meets the requirements to become either a Member or Member Affiliate (as described in the Member Agreement) may join GaHIN and access the GaHIN Network.

A Member is any organization that (i) meets the requirements for participation in the GaHIN Network as contained in the GaHIN Network Operating Policies and Technical Requirements, (ii) is accepted by Truven and GaHIN for participation in the GaHIN Network, and (iii) executes a Member Agreement and any appropriate documents.

A Member Affiliate is any person who has been authorized by a Member to access patient health data through the GaHIN Network and in a manner defined by such Member, in compliance with the terms and conditions of the Member Agreement and applicable laws (which includes all applicable statutes, rules and regulations of the State of Georgia, as well as all applicable federal statutes, rules, and regulations, including without limitation, the HIPAA and HITECH Acts).

What information is in the Network?

The GaHIN Network is what is called a “network of networks.” Information does not reside in the GaHIN database; instead it remains with the provider who contributed the information until it is requested by a Member. In a matter of seconds the requested information is delivered to the Member’s EHR.

The Network connects Members or Member Affiliate healthcare providers and institutions to other Member and Member Affiliate providers and institutions within their respective communities and across the State of Georgia. As a result, Members and Member Affiliates are granted an opportunity to immediately and securely access, send and/or receive vital protected health information.

GaHIN continuously collaborates with Members and Member Affiliates to make improvements to the quality and costs associated with healthcare while simultaneously improving patient health. By working closely with healthcare leaders across the state to connect healthcare systems, Regional Health Information Exchanges (HIEs), vendors and other healthcare organizations and providers to the Network, GaHIN helps healthcare stakeholders fulfill their goals.

What is the difference between a Regional Health Information Exchange (HIE) and GaHIN?

The State of Georgia is fortunate to have a number of health system and community-based regional HIEs. Rather than duplicate efforts already undertaken by these HIEs, GaHIN employs a “network of networks model” that connects these regional HIEs through the Network. This allows the regional HIEs to seamlessly share protected health information and improve care coordination across the state.

In addition to connecting the regional HIEs, GaHIN uses the Network’s technology to connect hospitals, healthcare systems, state agencies and other organizations statewide, benefiting Georgia’s healthcare systems and establishing widespread and robust interoperability across the state. The Network also keeps GaHIN’s operation manageable and associated overhead low, thereby limiting the costs that GaHIN would have to pass on to Members and Member Affiliates.

Who may access and use the Network?

Below are the categories of people and entities who may have access to the Network. Only those who have been approved by and executed appropriate contracts may access and use the Network:

  • Physicians
  • Mid-level Practitioners (Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Certified Nurse Midwives
  • Doctors of Dentistry, Optometry and Podiatry
  • Hospitals
  • Safety Net Clinics
  • Behavioral & Mental Health Providers
  • County/State Departments of Public Health
  • Long-Term Care
  • Home Health
  • Hospice
  • Labs
  • Imaging Centers
  • Urgent Care Clinics
  • Health Plans
  • Other entities as approved by GaHIN’s Board of Directors
How does my healthcare organization connect to the network?

Healthcare organizations should contact one of the connected regional HIEs to connect to the Network. It will be necessary for your organization to contract directly with the regional HIE to connect your organization’s EHR system and access the Network. If your organization does not have an EHR system in place, you may still connect to the Network through an EHR system offered by the regional HIE.

If you have questions or need more information, please contact the GaHIN office at info@gahin.org.

What type of clinical information may be sent or received through use of the Network?

The following clinical information may be sent and received by Members and Member Affiliates through use of the Network:

  • Transcription notes (i.e. discharge summaries, histories and physicals, operative reports and emergency department reports
  • Continuity of care documents (CCDs) Immunization updates and queries
  • Consult reports
  • Referral requests
  • Secure messaging
  • Lab & pathology results
  • Radiology reports
  • Public health alerts and notification
  • Admission, discharge and transfer information (ADT Alerts being implemented)
  • Lab & pathology ordering
  • Radiology ordering

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