Health information exchange across organizations makes for better care decisions
WASHINGTON, Sept. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Health care is better with the health information exchange among members of the Care Connectivity Consortium, according to providers and patients.
Carol McNair, 75, and her husband Steve, 81, live in Herron Island, Wash., and have experienced the benefits of health information exchange firsthand. They travel each December from their home to Desert Hot Springs, Calif., for several months of sunshine, and say this winter reprieve would not be possible without the collaboration between their primary care physician at Group Health Cooperative and their Kaiser Permanente physician in Palm Springs, Calif.
During a recent visit to California, Carol began feeling poorly and suspected it could be because of her medications. "I was helping my daughter pick out a wedding dress and just wasn't feeling right. My Kaiser Permanente physician, Dr. Kirk Pagel, was able to review my medications on my electronic medical record and adjust them right away. It's important to me that my doctors have this kind of connectivity and can communicate, so I know I'm always getting the best care."
The Care Connectivity Consortium was created in April 2011 by five health systems—Kaiser Permanente, Mayo Clinic, Group Health Cooperative, Intermountain Healthcare and Geisinger Health System—to connect doctors electronically, enabling them to have comprehensive access to patients' medical record information and provide better patient care. Since its formation, the Consortium has developed standards-based information technology to connect doctors across the country. Today, CCC partners can exchange information across all five organizations in select geographic and specialty areas.
By connecting seamlessly to another member of the Care Connectivity Consortium, Kirk Pagel, M.D., the McNairs' Kaiser Permanente physician in Palm Springs can view the McNairs' most recent Group Health Cooperative medical records.
"Dr. Pagel is able to care for us as if we were his year-round patients," said Steve McNair. "Even though we only see him three to four months out of the year, I feel like he's always up to date on our health and a large part of that is due to the data connectivity between Group Health Cooperative and Kaiser Permanente."
Through the work of the Care Connectivity Consortium, clinicians are finding that having access to their patients' comprehensive medical history makes them feel more equipped to provide high-quality, safe care.
"The health information exchange capability with other providers in the Care Connectivity Consortium gives me a more thorough picture of my patients' health before they even walk into the exam room," Dr. Pagel said. "Armed with the right information at the right time, I can give my patients the best care possible."
With patient privacy and security as overarching priorities, the CCC partners are taking the practical steps needed to link pertinent patient data between the separate care systems and medical records, therefore demonstrating the possibility of higher quality and safer care with improved data availability.
Leaders of the five health systems believe that achieving electronic health information interoperability and connectivity will be a critical next step in the United States moving toward 21st century, information-enabled health care.
About Geisinger Health System
Geisinger is an integrated health services organization widely recognized for its innovative use of the electronic health record, and the development and implementation of innovative care models including ProvenHealth Navigator®, an advanced medical home model, and ProvenCare® program. The system serves more than 2.6 million residents throughout 44 counties in central and northeastern Pennsylvania. For more information, visit www.geisinger.org.
About Group Health Cooperative
Marking its 64th year, Group Health Cooperative is an innovative, consumer-governed, nonprofit health care system that integrates care and coverage. Along with its subsidiary carriers, Group Health Options, Inc. and KPS Health Plans, Group Health works to improve the health of more than 675,000 plan members in Washington and Idaho. Group Health Cooperative is ranked "Highest in Member Satisfaction among Commercial Health Plans in the Northwest Region" by J.D. Power and Associates. More than 9,000 staff employed by Group Health and Group Health Physicians, its contracted, multispecialty group practice, provide patient-centered, evidence-based care to members and the broader community through medical centers, a charitable foundation, and a nationally recognized research center. For more information, please visit the virtual newsroom on our Web site, www.ghc.org under "Newsroom."
About Intermountain Healthcare
Intermountain Healthcare is a Utah-based system of 22 nonprofit hospitals, more than 185 clinics, a Medical Group with some 900 employed physicians, a health plans division called SelectHealth, and other health services. Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in clinical quality improvement and in efficient health care delivery. For more information about Intermountain, please visit our website and online annual report at www.intermountainhealthcare.org.
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America's leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 9 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: www.kp.org/newscenter.
About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education for people from all walks of life. For more information, visit www.mayoclinic.org/about/ and www.mayoclinic.org/news.
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SOURCE Kaiser Permanente