Care-coordination grant helps Unity tie data together

A $14 million state grant for data sharing and improved care coordination provided the means and opportunity for Rochester, N.Y.-based Unity Health System to build a private infrastructure that ties together its disparate records systems.

Unity's 346-bed hospital, three nursing homes, 70 remote sites, home care facility and a regional lab used four different EHRs, making sharing data difficult.

But the health system landed the grant in 2010 to focus on improving care for diabetic patients. Not only is it touting success with its diabetic care, it also has connected its private health information exchange with a public one covering data from the other two health systems in the area through the Rochester regional health information organization (RHIO), reports Healthcare Informatics.

"From that creation of this semantic, interoperable data …, we've now been able to push that into a clinical data warehouse and start doing some population health management around that data," John Glynn, vice president and CIO at Unity, told Healthcare Informatics.

The care-coordination focus has grown beyond diabetics to also include congestive heart failure patients. And the new infrastructure will ease the transition Unity merges with Rochester General Health System later this year.

In a report looking at the progress of health information exchange, a report from the California HealthCare Foundation predicted day-to-day HIE activity may increasingly involve private efforts to support a specific business initiative, such as an accountable care organization.

Payers are snubbing the bureaucracy, fees and complex architecture of government-sponsored HIEs and instead leading the way in private efforts, according to Black Book. That report says 83 percent of the nation's public HIEs are stalling as public funding dries up.

To learn more:
- read the article in Healthcare Informatics 

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