The Wyoming Department of Health wants to help physicians get the information they need for medical decisionmaking much quicker and will develop a statewide health information exchange to get the job done.
The Wyoming Frontier Information Exchange is being built as a centralized clinical data repository for participating providers with technology from HIE vendor Medicity.
“Currently, providers are struggling to coordinate quality care due to limited patient information,” says James Bush, MD, Wyoming Medicaid medical director and a practicing physician. “By forming the statewide HIE and using Medicity’s solutions, we can build a community of health that will securely place comprehensive, usable data into the hands of our healthcare providers.”
For example, the HIE will give clinicians real-time notification of patient admissions, discharges and transfers.
The HIE has significant initial financial backing, with the state and the Centers for Medicare and Medical Services paying the cost of the program for the first three years, says Ruth Jo Friess, health information technology systems manager in the Wyoming Division of Healthcare Financing. After that, a new funding mechanism will be established with stakeholders paying to keep the HIE operating, likely done through a subscription model that providers can afford.
Even before outreach efforts to educate providers about the HIE have begun, about 20 providers, including hospitals and practices, have signed agreements to join, according to Bush.
Wyoming providers further will have access to a Continuity of Care Document to securely share patient data, which could help identify gaps in care.
Bush also expects the Wyoming Frontier Information Exchange will expand to offer interstate connectivity with other providers, offering the potential for greater information sharing.
Other states being courted to join by 2020 could include Colorado, Utah, South Dakota and Montana. “We have a lot of people who get healthcare outside the state, so we want to be a regional HIE,” he adds.
Providers joining the HIE will be able to access the service through their electronic health records systems, a community dashboard, or email or text messages to smartphones. “We’re hoping that facilitates real-time case management, Bush explains.
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