Alaska, Rhode Island and Maryland Celebrate HIE Successes

| April 17, 2013

Alaska and Rhode Island—our largest and smallest states—joined Maryland in the headlines during April. All 3 states celebrated successes in their efforts to connect doctors and hospitals to health information exchanges (HIE).

The states with the most and the fewest square miles are both celebrating successes in their efforts to connect doctors and hospitals to health information exchanges (HIE).

Alaska -- our largest state -- is getting ready to connect its HIE with health providers in the nation’s northernmost and most remote regions. The HIE in Rhode Island—our smallest state—just started exchanging behavioral health data.

Both states joined Maryland in the headlines this month.

Alaska: Reaching Out to Fairbanks

The Alaska eHealth Network is preparing to launch a pilot program this year with health care providers in Fairbanks. That city is more than 730 miles northwest of the state capital. Healthcare IT News reports that the pilot will connect:

  • The 152-bed Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.
  • Tanana Valley Clinic.
  • Tanana Chief Conference, which is a tribal consortium of 42 villages.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology recently recognized Alaska’s HIE for its success in enabling electronic care summary exchange among 3,984 health care providers.

Rhode Island: Exchanging Behavioral Health Data

Two health care organizations in Rhode Island have transmitted their first behavioral health records to CurrentCare, the state’s HIE.

“For the first time, behavioral health and substance abuse data are integrated, enabling care of the whole person, and bringing providers together in service of this goal,” says Laura Adams, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Quality Institute (RIQI). RIQI provides services for the statewide HIE.

According to EHR Intelligence, CurrentCare is an opt-in service. This makes it easier to add sensitive data like psychiatric history and substance abuse records to an exchange.

Maryland: Kudos from the Governor

Thirty-seven of Maryland’s 47 hospitals have received payments from the federal Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program. And, according to Healthcare IT News, Governor Martin O’Malley is pleased as punch. 

In a recent blog, O’Malley boasted that Maryland was the first state to connect all acute-care hospitals in real-time through the Chesapeake Regional Information System for Our Patients (CRISP). The state was also the first to require private payers to reward physicians for EHR adoption.

O’Malley reports that CRISP is now focusing on becoming more user-friendly for both physicians and nurses. In addition, CRISP plans to get involved in the state’s prescription drug monitoring program and efforts to map preventable Emergency Room visits and admissions. 

CRISP also received an ONC challenge grant to engage long-term and post-acute care providers in the state’s HIE activities.