Sunday, September 13, 2009

New Mexico's HIT Efforts

New Mexico’s Health Policy Commission (HPC) an independent state agency collects, stores, organizes, analyzes, and disseminates health information data to use for health research, guidance, and recommendations. Immediate plans are to distribute health information more broadly in state and federal arenas.

HPC-IT collaborative efforts include:

• Collaborating with federal and state agencies to develop data sharing agreements for Hospital Inpatient Discharge Data (HIDD) and to develop the HIDD data dictionary to match the new data elements being collected

• Creating formal agreements so that the Department of Health can share data with AHRQ’s Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). HCUP is a federal-state-industry partnership sponsored by AHRQ that provides hospital inpatient databases from 40 states for research in the areas of healthcare utilization and quality

• Working on other ongoing collaborative efforts with several Department of Health agencies such as the New Mexico Hospital Association, regulatory and licensing departments, Board of Medical Examiners, Texas Department of State Health Services, New Mexico IHS, Veterans Administration, the New Mexico Telehealth Commission, and the New Mexico Telehealth Alliance as well as with several universities in the state

For SFY 2011, HPC-IT will implement the Indicator Based Information System to allow for web-based hospitalization reports. At this time, HIDD will be migrated into a more stable data warehouse environment to provide more reliable and efficient trend reports based on historical data.

New Mexico just received a $1.5 million award as part of ARRA from CDC to help the state continue to track and prevent healthcare-associated infections in the state. A permanent Healthcare-Associated Infections Advisory Committee led by the New Mexico Department of Health has recently completed a pilot project with six hospitals and the Department of Health is going to use the ARRA funding to expand the healthcare-associated projects and help hospitals across the state track and report the data.

On August 31, 2009, the New Mexico Department of Health released a “Request for Information” for an electronic clinical case management system to manage the clinical and non-clinical service and care components and functions of the Department. It is the intent of the Department to follow the RFI with a “Request for Proposal”.

The Department expects to contract with a single vendor for the application software, as well as provide for a hosting arrangement. Partnerships are encouraged among vendors. The deadline for the RFI is October 5, 2009. For more information, email Susan Beltran at or call (505) 476-3765.

Recently, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation awarded a three year $5 million grant to “Project ECHO”, a New Mexico program that uses evidence-based medicine and interactive technology to bring specialty care to patients living in rural and underserved areas suffering from serious, complex chronic conditions.

ECHO uses a secure, internet-based audio-visual network to connect primary care providers with medical specialists at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. Unlike most telehealth initiatives, that primarily connect patients with doctors, the ECHO project trains doctors, nurses, physician’s assistants and other clinicians in rural and underserved areas to work together to manage patients. The ECHO project network links the UNM medical school with more than 40 partner clinics based in public health departments, prisons, Indian Health Service sites, community health centers, and rural primary care practices around the state.

The Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists are going to co-direct a new National Center for Systems Biology located at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. This new spatiotemporal modeling center is funded by a $14.5 Million, five year grant from NIH’s National Institute for General Medical Sciences.

Los Alamos scientists will collaborate with researchers from UNM and Sandia National Laboratory to apply large scale, multidisciplinary approaches to understanding how the immune systems interact. The Center’s primary goal is to develop predictive models of cellular decision-making processes to better study the causes of human disease and explore new treatment options.