Census data is being exchanged on a real-time basis by 21 hospitals in the Los Angeles area, using a platform sponsored by L.A. Care Health Plan, a public entity operating an accountable care program and other health plans for residents of Los Angeles County.

The data exchange enables improved care coordination to members covered by L.A. Care. The network has been growing since August 2015, when L.A. Care started rolling out the platform to high-volume hospitals in its network.

The platform, supplied by vendor Safety Net Connect, enables hospitals on L.A. Care’s eConnect platform to send real-time alerts using standards from Health Level 7 to share information on admissions, discharges and transfers.

“Timely access to actionable data is the essential goal of most any health information technology, but a lack of interoperability between systems and organizations often makes that goal challenging, if not impossible,” says Keith Matsutsuyu, CEO of Safety Net Connect.

Also See: Custom EHR helps safety net provider deliver continuity of care

The approach helps overcome connectivity barriers between the hospitals’ systems, says L.A. Care CEO John Baackes. With real-time interaction between facilities, L.A. Care is able to provide immediate interaction and intervention, along with concurrent review and better care coordination for patients who are in its health plans.

L.A. Care, formally known as Local Initiative Health Authority of Los Angeles County, serves county residents through a variety of health coverage programs, including L.A. Care Covered, L.A. Care CalMediConnect Plan, L.A. Care’s Healthy Kids and PASC-SEIU Homecare Workers Health Care Plan. Through the plans, it provides health coverage to vulnerable populations and to support the safety net of care for those at risk. It has more than 2 million members in six health plans, making it the nation’s largest publicly operated health plan.

“Engaging 21 institutions in just over a year is a true testament to the value of this kind of data in improving outcomes for our hospital providers,” Baackes noted.

In addition to serving its members, L.A. Care helps network providers by providing them with a variety of tools and resources, including health education materials, continuing education classes and behavioral health resources.

Its support also includes technological advances to promote effective coordinated care. L.A. Care designed the Health Information Technology Extension Center for Los Angeles (HITEC-LA) to assist all Los Angeles County healthcare providers with implementing electronic health records and their meaningful use of the systems.

In November 2015, California’s Department of Health Care Services awarded a $10 million contract to L.A. Care to provide EHR technical support to L.A. County Medi-Cal providers. HITEC-LA has worked with more than 5,800 L.A. County healthcare providers since the program's inception; more than 3,000 of those providers have achieved meaningful use of electronic health records and consequently qualified for federal incentives.

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