January 10, 2014

State of Alabama
Press Release: Medicaid

East Alabama pilot project to test HIE value for physicians, patients

Pending final approval of grant funding, a new pilot project in east Alabama will help state leaders to better understand how doctors, hospitals and patients can benefit from the electronic exchange of health information using Alabama’s One Health Record® system. The effort will include East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika, Lanier Memorial Hospital in Valley, four referring clinics in the area and approximately 15 local physicians.

The pilot project was approved December 19 by the Alabama Health Information Exchange Commission to assess the benefits and function of the system when providers are able to connect to the state system and fully exchange patient data. The commission was established in 2010 to advance the adoption and meaningful use of electronic health records to improve the quality, safety and efficiency of health care delivered in the state.

One Health Record®, Alabama’s health information exchange (HIE), now makes it possible for disparate electronic health record systems to securely exchange information among providers. However, for providers to benefit from the system’s full range of capabilities, the various EHR systems need to connect to the state exchange, and most are not yet able to do this, according to HIE Operations Consultant Bill Mixon.

Now underway, the pilot project will involve the installation of an interface for each electronic record system to connect to and use the state HIE system for data exchange during the next four to six months, Mixon said. He noted that five different local EHR systems will be involved in the evaluation. After installation, state officials will focus on the impact of information exchange on physician and hospital workflow and also on physician-hospital communications.

“We want to understand what the value proposition is for physicians and also the clinical care benefit for patients,” Mixon said. “Ultimately, we want to take the lessons learned from this experience and replicate it in each of the five regions set up by Medicaid for its Regional Care Organizations.”

  • For more information, visit http://medicaid.alabama.gov
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