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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.”

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.