North Carolina and health IT partners have received grants across all categories of federal HIT funding totaling approximately $630 million and are expecting to exceed $1 billion in federal investments. The North Carolina Health Information Exchange (NC HIE) is currently in the implementation phase with core services deployed last April.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) in collaboration with NC HIE and Allscripts, launched the “North Carolina Program to Advance Technology for Health” (NC PATH) to equip 600 rural independent physicians with Allscripts EHR software and to connect healthcare providers across the state to the HIE.
BCBSNC is donating the cost to implement the EHRs. For in-network providers, BCBSNC will cover 85 percent of the software and maintenance costs plus HIE connectivity and membership fees for a period of 5 years. The provider is responsible for the remaining 15 percent.
The HIE is partnering with the North Carolina Community Care Network (NCCCN) to develop and deploy medication management services funded through a Supplemental Challenge Grant from ONC. Currently, there are 717 users on the medication management system.
The NCHIE launched the laboratory program with Solstas Lab Partners and Labcorp by signing a participation agreement and are now in contract discussions with Quest Diagnostics. A pilot program to make laboratory results from Solstas available through the NCHIE is currently being tested.
The state’s HIE has launched the NC Direct Program and now there are 792 Direct users. The NC HIE and DHHS are currently exploring opportunities on how to leverage NC Direct in the area of Public Health Services.
North Carolina’s Regional Extension Center (REC) has enrolled over 3,800 primary care providers which exceeded the previous goal of 3,465. The REC has coordinated their work with the Community Transformation Grant received by the state’s Division of Public Health. The NC AHEC will select 90 practices from the REC program to focus on improving outcomes in hypertension, high cholesterol, and tobacco use over the next year.
As of December 2012, the Beacon Community Grant has either fully or partially funded 30 projects in three country areas. For example, the Carolinas Medical Center-NorthEast (CCNC) has hired additional respiratory therapists to be embedded in primary care offices and in an emergency department to work on a COPD pilot. So far, 870 people have been screened for the project and 193 patients were identified as high risk for COPD.
In another project, the Rowan County Health Department through a Beacon Community Grant has upgraded their EMR system to a certified version and the department has nearly completed scanning and archiving their paper records.
The North Carolina Telehealth Network (NCTN) provides broadband services to health programs and sites across the state. To date, 61 NCTN-Public Health sites and 24 NCTN hospitals are fully operational. Another round of NCTN subscribers will be added in 2013.
The Microelectronic Center of North Carolina (MCNC) has completed upgrading the NCTN video conferencing services with interoperability established between standards-based IP videos, high definition, Cisco Telepresence, and desktop video conferencing.
The MCNC and the state’s Office for Information Technology Services are working closely with the NC HIE team to ensure that existing backbone networks and connections are provided to public health facilities, free clinics, hospitals, and that existing DHHS data repositories will be utilized to their maximum extent during the NC HIE implementation process.
Source: Quarterly Legislative Report—October through December 2012 prepared by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Health Information Technology. Released January 1, 2013
Go to www.ncdhhs.gov/healthIT/quarterly_report/2012/quarterly_report_2013Jan.pdf to view the full report.