The Georgia Health Information Network, or GaHIN (pronounced gee-hin), is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a healthier Georgia through the use and exchange of electronic health information. GaHIN is the state-designated entity for health information exchange (HIE).
GaHIN facilitates the use and secure exchange of patient health information so providers have the information they need at the point of care, resulting in improved quality of care, better health outcomes and reductions in cost.
By establishing a trusted network with existing health systems and health information networks, GaHIN facilitates the delivery of the right health information to the right place and provider at the right time—providing Georgia residents with safer, timelier and better care.
GaHIN connects a wide range of organizations throughout the state, including:
- State agencies
- Care management organizations
- Health systems/hospitals
- Regional HIEs
- Specialty connections
- National Exchange
Nearly 20 years ago, healthcare stakeholders from across Georgia conceived of a groundbreaking idea. It was a concept so basic, yet so challenging, that it would take most of the next two decades to make it a reality. Simply put, the idea called for the secure electronic exchange of patient health data across healthcare settings, giving providers a view of their patient’s health information at the point of care.
Instrumental in GaHIN’s formation were the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) and the Georgia Health Information Technology Extension Center (GA-HITEC). These organizations, plus GaHIN’s dedicated Board of Directors, other state and federal agencies, and a variety of strategic partners worked together to develop and implement a technology, business and policy infrastructure to sustain a statewide network-of-networks health information transport model.
Since its inception in 2013, GaHIN has worked closely with its founding partners, DCH and GA-HITEC, to attain a sustainable business model and secure financial status while serving the needs of Georgians statewide.
Today GaHIN meets the needs of a wide range of organizations including state departments and divisions, major health systems, regional health information exchanges and providers across the state. In addition, GaHIN is connected to other state HIEs, federal organizations and national exchanges.
The Role of the Georgia Department of Community Health
The roots of GaHIN can be traced back to when DCH received a federal American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant with funds being used to build the information technology infrastructure to support health information exchange across Georgia. In 2009, the Department of Community of Health submitted an application for the State Health Information Exchange Cooperative Agreement Program. In February 2010, the Office of National Coordinator (ONC) selected DCH as a grantee of a cooperative award in the amount of $13,003,003. In January 2011, DCH applied for and was awarded a Challenge Grant from the ONC for $1,689,992 to develop and implement a Consumer-Mediated Information Exchange in Rome, Georgia. That led to the formation of GaHIN.
The Role of Georgia Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center
The National Center for Primary Care (NCPC) located at the Morehouse School of Medicine was the recipient of approximately $19.5 million in ARRA funding for the creation of a Georgia regional extension center. Out of this funding, the NCPC created GA-HITEC. Since its inception, GA-HITEC has provided technical assistance to 4,250 primary care physicians to help them adopt certified electronic health records (EHRs) and use interactive and interoperable health information technology.