May 30, 2014

State of Alabama
Press Release: Medicaid

East Alabama providers connect in test of health information exchange

Improving patient health outcomes is one of the primary goals of the Alabama Medicaid Agency’s proposed Regional Care Organizations (RCOs). To that end, a legislatively-mandated Quality Assurance Committee voted in May to use approximately 40 measures to assess the quality of care provided by RCOs and contracted providers. Now, a pilot project in east Alabama is helping providers test new technology to securely exchange patient data and provide feedback on those measures.

The pilot project will connect electronic health record systems at East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika, Lanier Memorial Hospital in Valley, four referring clinics in the area and approximately 15 local physicians to One Health Record®, the state’s health information exchange (HIE) system, according to HIE Operations Consultant Bill Mixon.

“We hope to have all of our participating providers connected by the end of June,” he said, explaining that once connected, the providers will help the state test the function of the system over the next several months and identify any issues before Medicaid takes the system statewide. 

Participating providers will benefit from the ability to access information on any patient with whom they have a clinical relationship, and will receive alerts when those patients are seen at the hospital or as the result of a referral to another provider, Mixon said.

Electronic exchange of health information has been a major priority as the Agency has moved away from a fee-for-service payment system to a risk-based system that recognizes and rewards quality and outcomes instead of volume.

“The exchange of health information is central to the operation of the RCOs,” Mixon emphasized. “Our vision is to have a system that can be seamlessly integrated into a providers’ internal workflow. At the same time, the One Health Record® system would provide data needed by patients, other health care providers and Medicaid.” 

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