First Providers Exchange Patient Health Information Through Healthconnect's Secure Electronic Network

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CHRISTUS Health Systems and Legacy Community Health Services turn on the Southeast Texas regional health information exchange with live patient data

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This is an important milestone for improving patient care outcomes, and it’s very significant that Houston is once again playing a leadership role at the forefront of healthcare delivery.

Greater Houston Healthconnect (HEALTHCONNECT) announced today that providers in Southeast Texas can begin to expect more accessibility to their patients’ prior healthcare information, in real time. Twenty-five health institutions and clinics have contracted to participate in the system, in a network that is projected to include 14,000 physicians, 130 hospitals, and ultimately serve nearly 7 million people. Those organizations that have already signed on to participate represent nearly a quarter of the area’s hospitalizations. CHRISTUS Health and Legacy Community Health Services are the first to begin exchanging patient health histories in the form of continuity of care documents (CCDS) and HL7 feeds, which are secure, HIPAA compliant transmissions. Several other major hospital systems and clinics will begin sharing similar information on behalf of their patients in the coming months.

CHRISTUS Health Systems and Legacy Community Health Services are working cooperatively for the benefit of their patients. The network facilitates better coordination of care between providers, reduces duplicate procedures, and enhances safety. This system brings the healthcare industry another step closer to eliminating tedious copying and faxing, as well as burdening patients with the task of carrying around heavy binders of information from doctor to doctor.

“This network helps our CHRISTUS facilities in Southeast Texas continue to provide care that is focused on our patients, and to serve their needs more efficiently both before and after a hospital stay,” said George Conklin, CHRISTUS Health senior vice president and chief information officer.

“Our organization is honored to be involved in this industry-leading initiative. We are confident that this secure electronic network will improve the quality of healthcare altogether. We are passionate about this vision and eager to begin offering our patients a new service that will make their lives easier and enhance their quality of care,” said Katy Caldwell, Executive Director of Legacy Community Health Services.

Healthconnect employs a federated model in which patient records remain within the healthcare organizations themselves. Patients who have opted in to the system can have their records made visible to an authorized provider via a record locator. HEALTHCONNECT is powered by Medicity health information exchange (HIE) solutions.

Every patient will benefit from this new transportability of their historical health information. The multitude of available electronic medical record (EMR) systems creates an additional challenge to connecting care. HEALTHCONNECT will provide disparate EMR systems a means to communicate with one another so that all participants in the continuum of care can track their patient’s progress. The success of this network will play a critical role in enhancing quality of care and reducing healthcare costs, although a network of this magnitude will take time to implement fully.

“This is an important milestone for improving patient care outcomes, and it’s very significant that Houston is once again playing a leadership role at the forefront of healthcare delivery,” reports Ruthanne Mefford, HEALTHCONNECT Board Chair. “We look forward to enlarging our network as we connect more physicians and hospitals.”

About Greater Houston Healthconnect:
Greater Houston Healthconnect is an independent, community-based organization responsible for enabling information exchange among healthcare providers in a 20-county region. It is tasked with mobilizing healthcare information electronically across organizations to enhance the safety, quality, and efficiency of care and improve information access throughout the region. Key stakeholders include healthcare providers, payers, employers and the community as a whole. For more information, visit http://www.ghhconnect.org/.

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Robin Mansur
Greater Houston Healthconnect
832-564-2599
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