South Metro Primary Care (SMPC), one of the largest primary care independent practice associations in the Denver metro area, along with their medical management company Physician Health Partners (PHP), have announced plans to connect the electronic health records (EHR) of its 118 primary care providers to the Colorado Regional Health Information Organization (CORHIO) health information exchange (HIE).
In partnership with PHP, SMPC is one of 32 Pioneer Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) in the U.S., a federal program designed to improve quality and care coordination for more than 24,000 Medicare beneficiaries in the Denver area. Connecting to the HIE will allow the 118 primary care providers in 26 practice locations to quickly and securely access their patients’ information from hospitals, other provider offices and public health departments, helping them to provide more proactive and higher-quality care.
Information available to qualified health care providers through the CORHIO HIE includes lab results, X-ray, MRI and other medical imaging reports, physician transcripts, referral information, hospital discharge reports and newborn screening results.
SMPC will initially focus on connecting their practices utilizing the Amazing Charts and Allscripts EHR platforms. As the pilot progresses, more than 100 primary care physicians in SMPC on various EHR platforms will be connected to the HIE.
“We are excited to be at the forefront of connecting health care providers to the HIE system to help improve the care coordination for our patients,” Gerald Brown, M.D., SMPC, board president and physician at Internal Medicine Southwest, said in a statement. “Making the investment to connect was a big decision for the board, but we think it’s an important step for our providers and will ultimately benefit our patients.”
The data provided through the CORHIO HIE will help the SMPC providers with care coordination initiatives that are imperative to their goals of accountable and patient-centered care. The HIE makes it easier for providers to proactively follow up with their patients after hospital or specialist visits, which helps prevent medical complications and avoidable hospital readmissions. For individuals with chronic conditions, such as heart disease, asthma or diabetes, well-managed care coordination is essential to avoid unnecessary complications.
“Primary care providers and their patients can benefit greatly from the use of health information exchange technology,” said Larry Wolk, M.D., CORHIO’s CEO. “We are pleased to see that primary care providers, including those with the South Metro Primary Care group, are increasingly discovering value in the time-savings and cost-savings that CORHIO’s services provide. On top of that, we know that each time a new physician practice connects to the COHRIO HIE network, it means that hundreds—or even thousands—of patients are receiving higher-quality, better coordinated health care. That is central to CORHIO’s mission.”
In Colorado, there are currently 28 hospitals, more than 700 office-based providers, 40 long-term and post-acute care facilities, four behavioral health centers and two large medical laboratories connected to the CORHIO HIE.