Monday, November 28, 2011

California HIT Forging Ahead

Both Linette T. Scott MD, Interim Deputy Secretary for HIT for the California Health and Human Services Agency, and Laura Landry, Interim CEO, for Cal eConnect spoke at the recent 2011 California HIE Stakeholder Summit. Both speakers updated the 300 attendees on major developments related to the transformation of healthcare in the state.

One recent development is the passage of the “Telehealth Advancement Act of 2011” that opens the door for the expansion of telehealth in the state. The Act will enable telehealth to provide a broader range of services and reach more providers and care settings.

To enable the delivery of telehealth, broadband must reach all of California’s rural communities. With help from the FCC Rural Health Pilot Project’s $22 million available over three years, the goal is to connect to over 800 sites. This funding will enable the Broadband Opportunities & Training Program to be executed by the California Telehealth Network (CTN) and the UC Davis Health System to provide $5 million in “Model eHealth Communities” awards to go to 15 communities.

In May, FCC granted a one year extension to the RHPP program and will accept applications through June 2012. Secondly the FCC has authorized CTN to provide subsidized low-cost broadband rates to RHCPP for an additional year.

Both Scott and Landry emphasized that the HIE landscape continues to evolve and develop. The big news is that San Diego Beacon Community plans to launch a Regional Health Information Exchange Infrastructure in December to connect hospitals, medical groups, public health, and emergency medical services. The selected sites for participating organizations include Children’s Primary Care Medical Group, Rady Children’s Hospital, UC San Diego Health System, Sharp Community Medical Group, and the VA San Diego Healthcare System.

The HIE is expected to be implemented to other sites throughout the San Diego healthcare community over the next 14 months. At that time, health IT will be integrated into care delivery, pre-hospital data will be available, immunization forecasting will be possible, medical device data on implantable wireless devices will be available to enable more effective treatments.

The HIE will help public health to improve with real-time syndromic surveillance available, enable bi-directional integration with the San Diego Immunization registry, make possible electronic reporting of notifiable conditions and laboratory results, and provide an emergency medical services hub.

The presenters at the meeting reported on the success of the EHR incentive programs in the state by pointing out that the Medicare EHR incentive program has enabled 224 providers to receive $4 million in incentives and the Medi-Cal EHR incentive program has 141 hospitals registered with CMS.

They also that reported the regional extension centers received $55,875,335 in federal dollars. This means that today, Cal HIPSO has 6,567 providers enrolled with 1, 935 EHRs installed, HITEC-LA has 2,950 providers enrolled with 850 EHRs installed, COREC has 800 providers enrolled with 405 EHRs installed, and the National Indian REC-CA has 148 providers enrolled with 148 EHRs installed.