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Hawai‘i Island Health Care Organizations Celebrate National Health IT Week

The Hawai‘i Island Beacon Community (HIBC) and its participating organizations are celebrating National Health Information Technology (Health IT) Week from Sept. 10-14, 2012 and raising awareness about how technology is achieving better health care, improved health and lower costs.

“Health care delivery on the Big Island is at the forefront of the nation because of groundbreaking collaboration and technology,” said Susan Hunt, HIBC project director and CEO. “Thanks to the partnership and leadership of our participating organizations, we are seeing tremendous results from implementing and using Electronic Health Records (EHRs) to improve patient care and health outcomes. Technology streamlines access to information and connects providers across the state, enabling communication that can change and save lives.”
Some of the most noteworthy milestones in Health IT on the Big Island to date are:
  • More than 85 percent of Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) have set up EHRs and more than 26 percent have achieved Stage 1 Meaningful Use to qualify for federal incentive payments. HIBC and the Hawai‘i Pacific Regional Extension Center (REC) are assisting Big Island physicians with adopting EHRs and demonstrating Meaningful Use.
  • There are 29 PCP practices serving approximately 25,000 patients participating in HIBC’s Practice Redesign initiative to adopt the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) model, which includes the use of EHRs.
  • More than 500 patients are participating in the Care Coordination initiative, which is paving the way for Health IT to enhance communication between providers and create collaborative health care “neighborhoods” in East Hawai‘i, North Hawai‘i and West Hawai‘i for patients with chronic disease. A new HIBC partner, Hawai‘i Island Care Coordination Services (HICCS), has introduced another Health IT tool that provides in-home monitoring.
  • An array of Health Information Exchange (HIE) options are becoming available for physicians. One HIE system being developed through the partnership of HIBC, North Hawai‘i Community Hospital and Alere Wellogic, has completed a successful pilot phase and is expanding to other providers. Big Island physicians are also signing up to use secure direct messaging and referrals through the statewide Hawai‘i HIE.
“The physician community is coming together to implement Health IT,” said Dr. William I. Park, general surgeon at North Hawai‘i Community Hospital. “Together with HIBC, we are working to make care even better.”
During Health IT Week, HIBC will be sharing patient stories about the impact of Health IT through daily emails, online at hibeacon.org and through Facebook (Facebook.com/hibeacon) and Twitter (@hibeacon) with the #NHITWeek hashtag. There will also be flyers and stickers displayed at various sites across the island.
“Through HIBC, our health care organizations have rallied to transform health care and improve the health of our people,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi of the County of Hawai‘i. “The Big Island really is a shining example of how technology can power better health care and better health.”
Some of HIBC’s participating organizations include:
  • AlohaCare
  • Bay Clinic
  • County of Hawai‘i
  • East Hawai‘i Independent Physician Association
  • Five Mountains Independent Physician Association
  • Hāmākua Health Center
  • Hawai‘i Health Information Exchange
  • Hawai‘i Island Care Coordination Services
  • Hawai‘i Medical Service Association
  • Hawai‘i Pacific Regional Extension Center
  • Hilo Medical Center
  • Hui Mālama Ola Nā ‘Ōiwi
  • Kona Community Hospital
  • National Kidney Foundation of Hawai‘i
  • North Hawai‘i Community Hospital
  • University of Hawai‘i at Hilo
  • West Hawai‘i Community Health Center
  • West Hawai‘i Independent Physician Association
  • 19 Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) projects island-wide
The Beacon Communities have been working for the last two years to build and strengthen Health IT infrastructure, turn investments in Health IT into measurable improvements, and test innovative Health IT options. Today, more than 100,000 providers nationally are using EHRs.
“Thanks in great part to the work conducted by Beacon Communities, more and more providers — especially in rural communities like those of Hawai‘i Island — are now using EHRs and other technologies to modernize our health care system” said Craig Brammer, director of the Beacon Community Program with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. “We hope these achievements will help pave the way for other communities across the country.”

Hawai‘i Island Beacon Community Implements Program to Help Practices Transition to Patient Centered Medical Homes

Starting this month, the Hawai‘i Island Beacon Community (HIBC) is implementing a physician practice redesign program to transform up to 30 independent Primary Care Physician practices into Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMH).

Melinda Nugent, clinical program manager for HIBC, will lead the effort and collaborate with quality improvement coaches from the National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii (NKFH). Other partners in the program include North Hawai‘i Community Hospital and the Hawai‘i Medical Service Association (HMSA). Practice transition to the PCMH model is tied to a new strategy for health care reimbursements. The program will use a curriculum developed by TransforMED, an American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) company.

“Introduced by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 1967, the PCMH model has become the national standard for primary care delivery,” said Susan B. Hunt, MHA, project director and CEO of HIBC. “HIBC aims to help physicians fast-track the transformation of their primary care practices at no charge. The PCMH includes the use of Electronic Health Records (EHR) and is designed to improve care quality and efficiency, help people take an active role in improving their own health and reduce costs in the long term.”

Each of the 30 Hawai‘i Island practices participating will receive, at no charge:

  • A baseline practice assessment
  • A customized practice transformation plan
  • Access to 10 webinars that cover topics such as pre-visit planning, care coordination, and data recording and documentation
  • Admission to quarterly collaborative learning sessions with other participants
  • Recognition as a PCMH upon successful completion of the program

Enrollment is on a first-come basis. As of April 23, spots are still available. Primary Care Physicians interested in signing up may contact Melinda Nugent at (808) 933-8559 or mnugent@hibeacon.org.

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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.

Bay Clinic Rolls Out New Electronic System

Media Release:

As of January 1st, Bay Clinic will undergo a major transition in the way it manages its business. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly known as the Stimulus Package, provided Bay Clinic and other community health centers throughout the country with funding to help upgrade information technology systems.  One of Bay Clinic’s four stimulus-funded programs targeted for overhaul is its Practice Management system. Currently, Bay Clinic manages all aspects of its business including patient scheduling and billing with a software program created in the early 1990’s. “Despite the fact that technology has advanced dramatically over the past few decades, we simply could not afford to update our software programs until now” stated Paul Strauss, Bay Clinic CEO.

The new software program which cost nearly $300,000 manages patient flow, including scheduling of appointments, accounts receivable, collections, registration, data reporting, and insurance managed care. It also helps track referrals to specialists. It is a NextGen product that can fully integrate with Bay Clinic’s Electronic Health Record system for improved efficiency and data collection. Once implemented, the new system is expected to improve patient service as well as support the vital business functions of the organization.

When asked how this will impact patients, Jason Ferreira, Bay Clinic’s Health Information Technology Director said “ultimately, we will have updated information on the 16,000 patients we serve which will improve patient registration and appointment scheduling, but any change of this magnitude will cause some delays at first. So, we’re asking for patience for the next 30 to 60 days as we complete the transition”.

“One way patients can help”, said Sarah Nae’ole, who is helping to coordinate the transition “is if patients can bring their I.D.’s and insurance cards to their appointments and if they are uninsured, then some form of income verification so that they can receive discounted services if they qualify.”

Bay Clinic is making new patient registration forms on their website at www.bayclinic.org to help expedite the process. People can print them out and bring them to their appointments.

Bay Clinic already has an Electronic Health Record system that was implemented in 2006 and is a member of the Hawaii County Beacon Community for Health Information Exchange. The new electronic practice management system nearly completes Bay Clinic’s electronic health information technology infrastructure. According to the Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sibelius, Health Information Technology has bipartisan support due to its ability to improve quality and ultimately lower costs. In early 2011, Bay Clinic will be implementing an Electronic Dental Record system, also funded by the Stimulus Act, to complete their transition to a fully electronic health care environment.

Founded as a grass roots women’s health clinic at Hilo Bay front, Bay Clinic has grown into one of the largest nonprofit providers of health care on the Island with a mission to provide high quality health care regardless of ability to pay. For more information, please email madams@bayclinic.org.