Baylor College of Medicine has joined Greater Houston Healthconnect, the regional health information exchange (HIE) for a 20-county region in the Houston area.
Baylor, which utilizes the Epic electronic health record (EHR) system, will utilize Healthconnect’s Direct Messaging services to securely communicate via Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant email with patients regarding test results, referral information and follow-up care instructions.
In a news release statement, the college’s CMIO, Jeffrey Steinbauer, M.D., stressed the importance of Baylor’s participation in the regional health information exchange, not only for improved patient follow-up but also as a new standard of care. “The Baylor faculty are committed to advancing standards of patient care utilizing all available and emerging technologies to accomplish that goal. The use of Direct Messaging to securely transmit clinical information to referring physicians and patients themselves represents just the tip of the iceberg with respect to the way we envision integrating health information technologies into our practice and instruction in the near future. We intend to prepare future generations of physicians who will emerge better able to practice medicine in a new era of smart information technology,” Steinbauer said.
Healthconnect was founded to serve as a neutral convener of patient records among the over 130 hospitals and 16,000 physicians practicing in southeast Texas. As member organizations go live in the regional HIE, Healthconnect is creating a network of networks, connecting the information systems that each organization has built to integrate their own clinical care networks.
Healthconnect’s community health record portal allows authorized physicians to query a lifelong patient record including information from past episodes of care, test results, diagnoses and procedures, irrespective of where that care was received. The number of records available for query grows daily and at the time of the news release, Healthconnect has connected 906,771 patient records through its federated model of health information exchange.