Sunday, October 14, 2012

News from Ohio

The Ohio Health Information Partnership received a federal HIE grant for $14,872,199 to create an HIE that would allow hospitals, physicians, clinicians, labs and others involved in a patient’s care to communicate electronically and share patient data. The Partnership is one of two entities in the state recognized by the state and federal government to receive funding along with HealthBridge a regional HIE located in the Cincinnati area.

The Partnership’s HIE Vendor Selection Committee issued an RFP seeking technology vendors for the state HIE referred to as CliniSync. Eventually, the Committee selected Medicity as the technology partner. CliniSync is the product name of the combined Partnership services and the Medicity technology.

Recently, Primier Health Partners and Kettering Health Network in Dayton Ohio joined CliniSync with plans underway for Premier and Kettering to connect electronically to other Ohio Physicians, hospitals, labs, and other healthcare entities. To date, 57 hospitals have joined CliniSync with two hospitals now live in western Ohio.

The Kettering Health Network has more than 1,200 physicians and 60 facilities including a behavioral health hospital for adults and adolescents along with Kettering College. Premier with 2,300 physicians the largest healthcare system in Southwest Ohio operates four hospitals that will connect to the HIE. In addition, Premier offers a large primary and specialty care network plus home health services.

Dan Paoletti, CEO of the Ohio Health Information Partnership says the movement to connect providers will help transform healthcare in the state and he is particularly excited that the Dayton region has joined the initiative.

The Partnership has signed up 6,483 Ohio physicians and healthcare professionals for the switch from paper records to EHRs or to upgrade their existing systems. A free software package offered through CliniSync allows physicians and clinicians to electronically send encrypted email messages, coordinate referrals with one another, and get hospital and lab results directly to their practices. Also, federal grant funding for $29,374,318 was used to establish regional extension centers and another $558,000 to help 31 critical access and rural hospitals.

The Partnership also established an e-Prescribe Task Force to study issues involving e-prescribing in the state. In August 2012, the Task Force published a White Paper titled “Research and Recommendations for Improving e-Prescribing in Ohio”.

Surescripts provides monthly data to the Office of the National Coordinator with information on the prescribers and pharmacies across the country. Ohio’s data is positive and gives a clear picture of the rapid rate of adoption of e-prescribing in Ohio.

There is widespread acceptance of e-prescribing in the state, but Ohio is working to improve the quality of e-prescribing by educating physicians and pharmacists on the process for e-prescribing controlled substances and working with Surescripts and EHR vendors to improve the quality of the e-prescribing program. These two steps are currently underway.

In other state actions, the Governor’s Office of Health Transformation has set out to reform Ohio’s health care payment and delivery systems. The first order of business was to focus first on Ohio’s own system by modernizing Medicaid and streamlining the state’s health and human services infrastructure.

According to the Governor’s Office, there are still challenges to overcome such as dealing with a fragmented system, the growth in healthcare spending, and the fact that spending is not always correlated with better outcomes. To meet these challenges, the state is applying for a State Innovation Model (SIM) Design Grant. 

Ohio is seeking the SIM Design Grant to refine the existing State Health Innovation Plan and to scale up two specific healthcare payment and service delivery innovation models to include patient-centered medical homes and episode-based payments.

It is estimated that the SIM initiative will cost the state and its partners about $7.1 million and the state will fund the initiative through a combination of $4.1 million from the state and private payers and $3 million in requested design grant funds from CMMI.