Tennessee Healthcare Providers Streamline the Process of Communicating Patient Information
Nashville, Tenn. (January 23, 2014) – The Tennessee Office of eHealth Initiatives’ Health eShare Direct Project has been the driving force in assisting more than 4,000 healthcare professionals in Tennessee to embrace Direct Technology. Direct facilitates secure health information exchange (HIE) through the electronic transmission of patient health information, closing the gap in healthcare communication by painting a full picture of a patient’s healthcare status for all providers involved in the continuum of care. According to David C. Kibbe, MD MBA, senior advisor to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), DirectTrust cofounder and CEO, the adoption of Direct messaging and creation of meaningful use cases in Tennessee is among the most rapid he has seen. In fact, according to the most recent data provided by DirectTrust to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), Tennessee now represents nearly 5 percent of all Direct active accounts established nationally. Direct was initially piloted among the healthcare communities in Chattanooga, Memphis and Hickman County this past spring. Under contract with the Tennessee Office of eHealth Initiatives (OeHI), Qsource utilized the lessons learned from the pilot program to expand Direct statewide, beginning in June of this past year. As an incentive for participation, OeHI provided incentives for up to 4,000 participants of $500 per Direct user account. Qsource was charged with distributing those funds before January 31, 2014. The goal was reached six weeks early. “As the sponsor of the Direct Project in Tennessee, watching it grow and succeed has been very satisfying, and it has truly expanded health information exchange in Tennessee. I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked side by side with Qsource who helped make this project such a success,” said George Beckett, Health IT Coordinator for OeHI. In Chattanooga, the Southeast Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disability is participating in the Community-based Care Transitions Program (CCTP). The agency is responsible for connecting the agency’s high-risk clients who are discharged from the hospital inpatient care settings with the community care, rehabilitation and ancillary services that they need to recuperate, recover and avoid costly hospital readmissions. Once enrolled in the pilot project, the agency began receiving patient discharge notifications and relevant patient information from clinical charts almost instantaneously with the use of Direct Technology. The agency staff is able to reach out to patients, usually within hours of their discharge. In nine short months, this community has sent more than 2,000 Direct messages. Healthstar Physicians, PC, is a multi-specialty physician group with a support staff of more than 450 that serves 11 locations in four counties in East TN. Direct Technology is assisting this large organization by allowing it to securely exchange patient health information needed between multiple transitions of care within its own organization. Since implementing Direct in October 2013, the organization has sent more than 1,500 messages to support patient care. Direct Technology is also a protocol used to achieve two of the measures for information exchange required for providers and hospitals seeking to maximize incentives for Stage 2 of the EHR Incentive Program. While the funding for Direct is no longer available, the value of Direct continues to grow, with more than 13,500 messages sent in Tennessee alone. Beckett further stated, “I would like to take a moment to thank the Qsource team for their hard work and dedication on the Direct Project. With their dedicated assistance and leadership we were able to achieve our goals.” For more information about the Health eShare Direct Project visit www.HealtheShareTN.com. To learn how Qsource can help you evaluate Direct for your healthcare organization, call (866) 514-8595. About the Office of eHealth The mission of the Tennessee Office of eHealth Initiatives (OeHI) is to facilitate improvements in Tennessee's health care quality, safety, transparency, efficiency, and cost effectiveness through statewide adoption and use of electronic health records (EHR) and health information exchange (HIE). OeHI received grant funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) to support this Direct Project and other projects to implement secure health information exchange. Through these stimulus funds, ARRA enables Tennessee the opportunity to advance the secure exchange of health information and to expand the adoption and Meaningful Use of EHRs and HIE. For more information, please visit http://www.tn.gov/ehealth/. About Qsource Qsource is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) healthcare quality improvement and information technology consultancy headquartered in Tennessee since 1973. Qsource provides a wide range of expert services to assist organizations and providers in improving healthcare quality and delivery with better patient outcomes and cost savings. Qsource consulting services are offered through our Divisions/Subsidiaries/Affiliates, Tools & Resources, and associates staffing offices in Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville, Tenn., as well as Little Rock, Ark. For more information, please visit www.qsource.org.