Georgia Health Information Network (GaHIN), Georgia’s health information exchange, and South Carolina’s Health Information Exchange (SCHIEx), announced the successful launch of the connection between the two statewide networks. As one of the first state-to-state health information exchange (HIE) connections in the nation, the partnership will help facilitate the seamless and secure exchange of patient health information across state borders among hospitals, physicians and clinicians located in Georgia and South Carolina.
Connecting the two state HIEs further expands Georgia’s and South Carolina’s continuity of care by enhancing patient care coordination among its authorized providers and affiliates while improving access to medical information for real-time diagnosis and potentially life-saving treatment. Providers in both states can now seamlessly view a patient’s medical history, previous diagnoses, lab tests, medications, allergies, physicians’ notes and other crucial information. This newly launched exchange will help improve patient care, reduce potential medication and medical errors, streamline workflow and cut administrative costs, enabling physicians to spend more one-on-one time with patients instead of tracking down records.
“With GaHIN’s connectivity to the SCHIEx network comes the ability to seamlessly share medical information immediately and securely across state lines — ultimately paving the way for additional state-to-state connections across the country,” said Denise Hines, executive director of GaHIN. “This expanded connectivity allows for the delivery of the right health information to the right place at the right time — no matter where the patient is receiving care — across secure, robust inter- and intrastate networks.”
The exchange of patient-specific medical information between the two states supports the natural migration of residents between large cities, such as Atlanta and Columbia; tourism to popular vacation destinations; as well as patients traveling from one state to the other for specialty care, such as pediatrics or oncology. This new access to medical history and pertinent patient information from the neighboring states can help improve care quality and save time by providing critical information at the point of care during non-urgent and emergency situations.
“We recognize that the health needs of South Carolinians don’t stop at the state line,” said Sue Veer, who chairs the board that governs SCHIEx. “That’s why this partnership with Georgia is a great step forward. We look forward to the day when there are no barriers to the secure delivery of health records, so that the life-saving information that healthcare professionals need can follow patients wherever they go in the nation.”
GaHIN and SCHIEx created interstate connectivity via support from their technology partners Truven Health Analytics and CareEvolution. The GaHIN and SCHIEx networks leverage a federated exchange architecture that does not necessitate the creation of new data warehouses or a single data location, but rather allows data to remain with the original providers and facilities. These HIEs are secure exchange networks which allow remote access to electronic health records. This connectivity helps achieve Meaningful Use for providers located in both states.
“The GaHIN and SCHIEx teams have gone above and beyond what many other states are doing to create an interstate network that will serve their communities for years to come,” said August Calhoun, senior vice president and general manager for the Provider business of Truven Health Analytics. “This is a trailblazing effort — leading the way for state governing organizations and healthcare providers to work toward better continuity of care, population health management, and the resultant improved quality and cost of care in the U.S.”
Established in 2009, GaHIN has successfully connected members consisting of regional HIEs, hospital systems, physician groups and individual practitioners. The Georgia network currently reaches counties across the entire state and has more than 16 million patient records accessible to providers. GaHIN is connected to the national eHealth Exchange and is also a member of DirectTrust, which enables its members to securely exchange information nationally with other providers who are using Direct. GaHIN’s products, Georgia ConnectedCare and GeorgiaDirect, help its members achieve Meaningful Use Stages 1 and 2.
SCHIEx launched in 2009 and has rapidly expanded across South Carolina, offering its members SCHIEx Exchange, SCHIEx Direct and SCHIEx Clinical Viewer products. As of September 2014, more than 200 sites — offices, hospitals, clinics and others — were on the exchange, representing 680,000 “interoperable lives,” or individual patient records. By the end of 2014, when additional providers currently in the process of joining the exchange come on board, it will include more than a million lives.
The potential impact of this connection, if all constituents of both states were to enter the system, could include the health records of approximately 14.8 million people, based on 2013 United Census population statistics for Georgia and South Carolina.
About Georgia Health Information Network
The Georgia Health Information Network (GaHIN) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the use and exchange of electronic health information to foster a healthier Georgia, improve patient-centered healthcare, increase efficiency and promote the health status of the entire state population. GaHIN’s purpose is to close the patient information gap across all care settings by electronically connecting disparate systems and data sources to support improved quality of care, better health outcomes and reductions in cost. www.gahin.org
SCHIEx is South Carolina’s Health Information Exchange — a network of connections that allows healthcare professionals and patients to appropriately access, and securely share, a patient’s vital medical information electronically. The exchange, governed by a nonprofit board, enables physicians across South Carolina to view the patient information they need to make well-informed decisions. By providing real-time access to life-saving data, SCHIEx (pronounced SKY-eks) is improving the quality, safety and efficiency of health care delivery in the Palmetto State. http://schiex.org/
About Truven Health Analytics
At Truven Health Analytics we are dedicated to delivering the answers our clients need to improve healthcare quality and reduce costs. We are a healthcare analytics company with robust, widely-respected data assets and advanced analytic expertise that have served the global healthcare industry for more than 30 years. These combine with our unique perspective from across the entire healthcare industry to give hospitals, clinicians, employers, health plans, government agencies, life sciences researchers, and policymakers the confidence they need to make the right decisions, right now, every time. With our healthcare-specific expertise and tools for managing complex and disparate data, we understand how to implement and integrate tailored analytics that drive improvement.
Truven Health owns some of the most trusted brands in healthcare, such as Micromedex, ActionOI, 100 Top Hospitals, MarketScan, and Advantage Suite. Truven has its principal offices in Ann Arbor, Mich.; Chicago; and Denver. For more information, please visit truvenhealth.com.
CareEvolution is a leading provider of secure interoperability solutions. Its core offering, HIEBus™, is a proven, comprehensive suite of SOA technology solutions for healthcare interoperability. Standards-based core network services and certified web-based applications enable healthcare providers, regional exchange initiatives, and health plans to implement patient-centric quality and efficiency initiatives across the care continuum. A suite of optional applications leverage the comprehensive longitudinal patient health information in HIEBus to drive clinical integration, care coordination, real time dashboards, medication reconciliation, disease surveillance, advanced analytics, and multi-center observational data research. For more information, go to www.careevolution.com.