New Memorial Hermann HIE pushes health data to docs

MHMD, the physician network of Memorial Hermann Healthcare System in Houston, is implementing a new health information exchange and point-of-care reminder system to increase clinical integration and improve the quality of care.

Memorial Hermann, a national trend setter among integrated delivery systems, has about 3,500 employed and independent physicians in its affiliated network. But only the physicians in what MHMD calls its "advanced primary care practices" will participate in the rollout of the new patient-centered medical program, according to an article in Healthcare IT News.

The central health IT feature in this program is an innovative point-of-care tool that will provide physicians and nurses with up-to-date information on the care of each patient when they come for a visit or call a practice on the phone. Apparently, the new HIE will supply the data that will be automatically forwarded to clinicians at every point of contact with the patient. For example, physicians can be prompted to order needed tests, or can be informed about medication changes made by other doctors. This will fill a gap in the dissemination of information to providers because information will be pushed to them, instead of them having to search for the data.

Physicians in the advanced primary care practices program are seeking to build patient-centered medical homes. Besides using the new HIE and point-of-care service, they must follow evidence-based guidelines, report quality data, promote patient self-management, use registries and prescribe electronically.

Over the past few years, MHMD has helped hundreds of physicians adopt electronic health records. It claims to be the largest clinically integrated physician network in Texas; however, it has been less successful in contracting with payers than it had hoped, according to a recent network newsletter.

To learn more:
- read the Healthcare IT News article
- see my 2007 story in Medical Economics about MHMD's EHR plans (reg. required)
- check out the Spring 2011 MHMD newsletter (.pdf)

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