Oct. 14, 2012
HealthBridge and the Greater Cincinnati Health Council announced a new Transitions of Care demonstration today as part of the Greater Cincinnati Beacon Collaboration (GCBC). This demonstration is one of several health care innovation projects planned under the $13.75 million GCBC grant to improve care and health outcomes while addressing rising health care costs.
Currently, patient records are typically printed then faxed or mailed to community providers after patients are discharged from the hospital. This demonstration is testing a new way to send the information electronically at discharge – or just before – and do so in a secure and confidential way. The demonstration is an example locally of a national movement away from paper processes to more secure and efficient electronic communication among health care providers.
The Transitions of Care demonstration uses a new, open source technology protocol developed under the HHS Nationwide Health Information Network (NwHIN) Direct Project. NwHIN Direct connects health providers who care for the same patient across multiple organizations.
Specifically, the demonstration is testing the transmission of patient discharge documents electronically between hospitals and primary care providers, long-term care facilities and home health care agencies. Two Cincinnati area hospitals – The Christ Hospital and Mercy Health – Anderson Hospital – are participating in the initial pilot. Plans are to have three additional hospitals begin using the new transitions in care technology in 2012 after the testing and pilot phase is complete.
“This is an opportunity to speed the exchange of patient information along the continuum of care, using simple, secure and easy-to-use technology,” said Keith Hepp, interim Chief Executive Officer of HealthBridge. “It truly puts the IT into transitions and moves us toward more efficient, effective information flows to support better patient care.”
Greater Cincinnati is one of 17 innovative Beacon communities nationwide selected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health IT to develop and showcase new models for health care transformation. In Sept. 2010, HHS Secretary Sebelius announced the Beacon Community award at a ceremony at the University of Cincinnati.
This announcement is part of the Greater Cincinnati Beacon Collaboration’s effort to focus on care transitions, pediatric asthma, adult diabetes, and consumer engagement. The Transitions of Care work is sponsored by the Greater Cincinnati Health Council. The aim of the new Transitions of Care work is to reduce significantly the avoidable 30-day hospital readmissions rate for heart failure by the end of 2012.
“Hospitals in Greater Cincinnati are active participants in seeking innovative approaches to care transitions,” said Colleen O’Toole, President of the Greater Cincinnati Health Council. “The Greater Cincinnati Health Council is pleased to facilitate collaboration and demonstrations among health care providers across the continuum of care to make transitions of care smoother and more efficient using electronic technology.”
For more resources and information on the Greater Cincinnati Beacon Collaboration, visit www.healthbridge.org/beacon. For more information for providers, patients and families related to health information technology and exchange, visit the new ONC sponsored website www.healthit.gov.
Founded in 1997, HealthBridge started as a regional effort to improve health care quality, by sharing health information electronically in the Greater Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky tri-state area. Today, HealthBridge is recognized as one of the nation’s largest, most advanced and most financially sustainable health information exchanges (HIE). HealthBridge’s innovative information network has grown to encompass more than 50 hospitals, 800 physician practices and 7,500 physicians in five different communities in three states. HealthBridge’s secure electronic network sends roughly 3.2 million electronic messages per month, including clinical lab tests, radiology reports, discharge summaries and other information vital to better care for more than 2.5 million patients.
About the Greater Cincinnati Health Council
The Greater Cincinnati Health Council is a widely recognized association that provides a unique forum where hospital and health care leaders connect to create a stronger health care community. For more than 50 years, the Council has served as a trusted voice on hospital and health care issues for the Tristate region.
Support for the Greater Cincinnati Beacon Collaboration is provided under cooperative agreement 90BC0016-01 from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.