Calif. health information exchange goes live in O.C.

According to the California Regional Health Information Organization (CalRHIO) the first of its health information exchange (HIE) systems went live in Orange County this week. The launch will provide twenty-three hospital emergency departments with secure electronic access to critical medical information over the next five months, officials said.

Orange County’s Coastal Communities Hospital is part of the Orange County Partnership Regional Health Information Organization, or OCPRHIO, and it’s one of many Orange County hospitals that will benefit from a new statewide health information exchange. Through a partnership with the California Regional Health Information Organization (CalRHIO), a nonprofit, public-private partnership that provides health information technology and data support to local providers, OCPRHIO hopes to help hospitals share electronic health records (EHRs) and other health information over a single, secure infrastructure, statewide.

The initial rollout of the system will include data on over 380,000 patients enrolled in CalOptima, an integrated health care system that administers health insurance programs for Orange County residents who are on Medi-Cal, Medicare and Health Kids.

“The launch demonstrates how communities can affordably and efficiently bring the benefits of electronic health information exchange to their residents,” Molly Coye, MD, MPH, President and CEO of CalRHIO, said in a statement.

During 2010, more data sources will be added to the CalRHIO HIE, including prescription history, laboratory results, and additional clinical claims information, officials said. Eventually, additional Orange County providers will have access to the data as well, in support of OCPRHIO and State of California strategic plans.

“While we are starting with emergency departments, CalRHIO will also bring patient data to physician offices and clinics around the state,” Dr. Coye continued.

Because OCPRHIO is leveraging technology through CalRHIO, they avoided spending time and resources in building their own data exchange system. Instead, the system built by Medicity, will tie emergency departments to both local and statewide sources of patient information, as well as the national network, Medicity CEO James Lassetter said.

“Our HIE technology is designed to support our nation’s health care goals of interconnecting clinicians and health care organizations in support of the ARRA’s goals of meaningful use, consumer engagement, and quality reporting. Connecting Orange County and the State of California is an important step toward that goal.”

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