North Hawai‘i Community Hospital Awarded $680,000 to Implement a Health Information Exchange System

Hawaii Island Beacon Community has awarded a $680,000 contract to North Hawaii Community Hospital to implement a Health Information Exchange (HIE) system that will impact more than 32,000 patients. The HIE is the first to launch in our state and marks the first step toward an island-wide HIE on the Big Island.

The North Hawaii HIE will make a difference where it is needed most. It will help providers better serve their patients and coordinate care, especially for those with chronic diseases such as diabetes, which is more prevalent in Hawaii County than in any other county in our state.

In 2011, Hawaii County had twice as many hospitalizations for diabetes as the City & County of Honolulu.

The North Hawaii region has a higher population of Native Hawaiians, who are particularly at-risk for chronic diseases. In parts of North Hawaii, Native Hawaiians make up more than 30% of the population higher than the county rate of 28.9% and the state rate of 19.8%.

Media Release:

Hawai‘i Island Beacon Community (HIBC) has awarded a $680,000 contract to North Hawai‘i Community Hospital (NHCH) to implement a Health Information Exchange (HIE) system throughout the North Hawai‘i region, impacting more than 32,000 patients and marking the first step toward an island-wide HIE. Implementation has begun and will continue through 2012.

NHCH’s existing vendor partner Wellogic® has already laid the technical foundation for the HIE, connecting information systems from NHCH; affiliated physician groups; two statewide labs; all pharmacies, radiology and imaging centers in the region; a national database of dispensed prescriptions; and a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC).

“We are pleased to support the groundbreaking initiatives of NHCH to help providers in the North Hawai‘i region adopt and benefit from the latest technology in health care,” said Susan B. Hunt, M.H.A., project director and CEO of HIBC. “NHCH has pioneered the use of Electronic Health Records (EHR) by North Hawai‘i providers and helped to achieve a nearly 95 percent adoption rate—one of the highest for any community nationwide. The region is more than ready to take the next step, and both patients and providers will benefit from the streamlined operations that a secure HIE system makes possible.”

“It’s an exciting breakthrough for health care in North Hawai‘i,” said William Park, M.D., chief medical  officer and general surgeon at NHCH, who has championed the region’s HIE since the project’s inception. “Our partnership with Wellogic® has been very successful, and we have built up to a smooth launch. Through access to comprehensive, up-to-date patient information for providers and, eventually, patients themselves, care will be more efficient, more easily coordinated and more holistic.”

Wellogic staff will be conducting training for all North Hawai‘i providers. In addition, HIBC staff, in partnership with staff from the Hawai‘i Pacific Regional Extension Center (REC), will continue ongoing support related to the adoption and use of EHR.

In addition to supporting and assisting with EHR and HIE implementation, HIBC is working to effect clinical transformation, particularly in terms of greater coordination of and access to care for patients who are most at-risk for chronic diseases, and conducting outreach by awarding $300,000 to the community in the form of Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) Grants.

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