Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts Launches HIT Adoption Initiative

Waltham, Mass., October 21, 2015 – October marks the beginning of the Home Care Alliance (HCA) of Massachusetts' Health Information Technology (HIT) adoption project. With funding support from MeHI, the Massachusetts eHealth Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, The Alliance has partnered with the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative (MAeHC) to assist home health agencies across the state meet the increasing demands for electronic data exchange.

Over 139,000 patients in 2014 were discharged from a Massachusetts hospital to home care, marking 139,000+ opportunities for seamless and timely communication enabled by technology. Home health, along with other behavioral health and long term care providers, did not receive incentives under the Health Information Technology or Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act and American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which hospitals and eligible professionals have used to offset costs related to health IT adoption.  The anticipation that new care and payment models, such as Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), might support the cost of health IT adoption among "non-incentivized providers," has been realized only in the most limited of fashions.

While the industry continues to lobby for IT funding for long term care in future phases of "meaningful use," The Alliance is prepared to take steps to better position home health agencies to demonstrate their value proposition as connected partners. To do this, HCA has partnered with MAeHC to work on a strategy for expanding home health participation in HIE.

To adequately represent the needs of all member agencies, the Alliance has convened a diverse group of stakeholders to establish an HIT Project Steering Committee. Members represent a range of functions within the Alliance including clinical, administrative, quality improvement, IT management, finance, and others.

Currently, the Steering Committee is assisting with the development of a membership HIT landscape survey. A team from MAeHC will provide domain expertise to guide the survey process, provide a gap analysis and develop a roadmap designed to guide the individual organizations on their journey from adoption to optimization.

"Connectivity has been identified as an essential strategy for sustainability and success for home care going forward," said Patricia Kelleher, Executive Director of the Home Care Alliance. "What it's really about is driving better care coordination in ways that improve patient health and outcomes.  Home care is committed to being part of that future."

About the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts (HCA)
The Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts is a non-profit trade association of home care agencies that promotes home care as an integral part of the health care delivery system. Founded in 1969, its mission is to "unite people and organizations to advance community health through care and services in the home."
The Alliance has 170 agency members from all corners of Massachusetts, as well as dozens of allied and individual Members to whom it provides educational and regulatory support and networking opportunities. HCA of MA is strong advocacy voice both for home care providers and their patients.

About Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative (MAeHC)
The Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative is a national leader in the facilitation and management of electronic health record deployment, health information exchange and quality measure reporting. MAeHC is an independent non-profit corporation with a charitable mission to improve the delivery of health care by promoting the use of health IT.  Formed in 2004 as a collaboration of non-profit health care stakeholders to demonstrate the most effective ways to deploy EHRs and HIE to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and affordability of care in Massachusetts, MAeHC now works across the United States with a wide range of physician practices, hospitals, state governments, contracting networks, management services organizations, HIE organizations, technology vendors, and consulting firms.  To learn more about the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative, please visit www.maehc.org

About the Massachusetts eHealth Institute (MeHI)
MeHI, or the Massachusetts eHealth Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, is the state's entity for healthcare innovation, technology, and competitiveness and is responsible for advancing the dissemination of health information technology throughout Massachusetts, including the deployment of electronic health records systems in healthcare provider settings and connecting them through the Mass HIway, the statewide health information exchange. For more information, please visit http://mehi.masstech.org and follow @MassEHealth.