Most Wired: Health Information Exchange

Most Wired 2012 artHaving the right tools in place so that care providers can share information is key to creating a successful 21st century health care delivery system. The right technology can connect health care providers across the continuum ‑ including primary care doctors, specialists, assisted-living facilities and nursing homes, hospitals, rehab facilities and public health agencies ‑ to ensure more streamlined continuity of care.

TMC has been at the leading edge of health care information technology. It was the first hospital in Arizona to implement a comprehensive electronic medical record to achieve Stage 7, the highest level to date, on the HIMSS Analytics scale. But health providers use a plethora of electronic records systems – and those systems don’t readily talk to one another. Enter the health information exchange, or HIE, which will provide the infrastructure that will allow the systems to communicate.

TMC is developing this information-exchange capability on two fronts. It is part of a public system being developed at a statewide level by a community-based nonprofit known as the Health Information Network of Arizona. This system, which includes hospitals, health plans and other providers who opt in, is likely to start small when it goes live later in 2012 and will expand incrementally across the state.

TMC, however, is also committed to building its own information exchange to help serve as a building block for its participation in the accountable care organization Arizona Connected Care. With more than 200 providers participating, it’s important to connect these practices, especially in treating those with chronic conditions, especially diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

This private system will be customized to fit the needs of its participation in Arizona Connected Care and will include some advanced features. A basic system allows a user to access patient information. A more sophisticated system could automatically alert the provider that a patient has received emergency care, for example, instead of requiring a provider to search for that information.

TMC is also committed to the public effort as well, since as a practical matter, patients will be getting care from providers who may not be participating in Arizona Connected Care. Read more at Initiative to Link Doctors for Delivery of Stronger Patient Care.

Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461