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Missouri HIE Debuts

Missouri Health Connection (MHC) has announced the grand opening of its health information network, paving the way for a new era of collaboration among health care providers to improve care quality, boost patient satisfaction, and reduce health care costs for all Missourians. The state's physicians and patients now have one connection for a healthier Missouri, instead of having to navigate a complex maze of information sources to improve the health of patients.

MHC’s grand opening culminates three years of infrastructure building to essentially create a highway that supports the transport of health information throughout Missouri and neighboring states, as well as the national health information network. Achieving this milestone places MHC among a small number of states that have attained similar objectives to provide physicians with quick access to the information they need for clinical decision making. With its health information highway up and running, MHC is empowering physicians with a comprehensive view of patient medical histories, helping MHC fulfill its mission to improve the health care of all Missourians.

“We at St. Louis Children’s Hospital are honored to participate and contribute to MHC’s effort. It complements the framework that we put in place to achieve interoperability. Now we have the right HIT foundation to coordinate the care for our patients and collaborate with other care providers in a way that ensures the highest quality and patient safety,” says Feliciano Yu, Jr., MD, MSHI, MSPH, FHIMSS, chief medical information officer at St. Louis Children's Hospital.

Key milestones achieved by MHC include the following:

• providing services to more than 45% of the inpatient care provided in Missouri, 62 hospitals and more than 350 clinics;

• enabling more than 7,000 physicians to securely access the health information of their patients in Missouri and neighboring states to improve care quality;

• electronic notifications alert physicians about important events, such as when their patients are admitted to the hospital, may need care in an out-of-town emergency, results from referred physicians, and more;

• continuity of care documents can be securely exchanged between health providers to reduce redundant medical tests and to ensure that patients receive the appropriate care based on their medical history; and

• MHC currently processes more than 250,000 electronic transactions per day to help health care providers improve operational efficiency and deliver the highest quality, most cost-effective care.

“MHC has essentially built the freeway that Missouri health care providers will use to access the vital information needed to make medical decisions,” says Mary Kasal, CEO of MHC. “MHC’s grand opening signifies that the onramps are open and ready for the state’s health care providers to join our network and begin their journey toward collaborative and more cost-effective health care.”

MHC is Missouri’s state-designated entity tasked with creating and managing the infrastructure to connect health care providers in Missouri and neighboring states with their patients via a secure health information network. As more health care providers move from paper-based medical records to EHR systems, MHC is working to make sure they can exchange information with each other through one secure network. The connectivity services provided by MHC are designed to support all health care provider organizations, from the largest multihospital health system, to a solo physician practice.

“The work being done by Missouri Health Connection will enable Missouri providers to access health information securely and appropriately and be able to collaborate to improve the quality and affordability of health care in the state,” says Christopher Muir, state health information exchange program manager with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. “We are excited that this important contribution helps move us toward a nationwide goal of improved care through health information exchange.”

A key component to MHC’s success is its ability to connect with all certified EHR systems. This is in contrast to some health information networks that limit connectivity and services by requiring the use of software from a specific vendor. MHC’s vendor-neutral approach connects a broad array of health systems, users, and applications, which elevates the volume and value of information within the network while making truly comprehensive electronic health records possible. This interoperability is accomplished by design, and through the use of InterSystems HealthShare software to enable the sharing of information across multiple systems and organizations.

Source: Missouri Health Connection