WATERTOWN, N.Y., Sept. 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization, in collaboration with Syracuse-based HealtheConnections and Fort Drum's Medical Department Activity (MEDDAC), is pleased to announce Department of Defense approval of a unique electronic health information exchange partnership between Fort Drum and the surrounding community.
The partnership, which was launched as a pilot program last August, is one of three across the country to be tested and approved by the DOD. Other health information exchange partnerships of this kind are in place in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Anchorage, Alaska.
Through the collaboration with Fort Drum MEDDAC, electronic medical records of soldiers and their families are now available, along with civilian medical records, in HealtheConnections' secure health information exchange system. This integration will prevent duplicate medical procedures and testing as health care providers have the ability to access the comprehensive health records of soldiers and their family members from other connected facilities across central New York, the north country and New York State.
HealtheConnections is also linked with the Department of Veterans Affairs, allowing veterans in central and northern New York to enjoy this same seamless access to care.
"It is our core mission to integrate our community health system with Fort Drum, strengthening both systems for the betterment of the veterans, soldiers and their families that are an integral part of our community," said Corey M. Zeigler, FDRHPO's chief information officer. "This is the culmination of more than eight years of work and since there is no care more personal than health care, we are very proud to provide high-quality, integrated care to our nation's finest."
"The electronic health record is proven to produce significant improvement in usability for our workforce, advance our ability to share information across systems of care and further enhance our ability to monitor and improve care," MEDDAC Commander Col. John A. McMurray said. "The HealtheConnections health information exchange will support our medical community in providing safe, high-quality health care and wellness to our service members, their families and veterans across the north country."
Across Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties, approximately 300 health care providers are connected through the HealtheConnections network. President and CEO Rob Hack said this constitutes nearly half of all providers in the north country region.
"Participation across the north country has been great," Mr. Hack said. "We are pleased that so many providers are taking advantage of the services offered by HealtheConnections, enabling an enhanced level of information for improved patient care. Through our strong partnership with FDRHPO, we hope that others will follow suit and further strengthen the region's health information exchange."
Not only do participating providers enjoy quick, secure access to a patient's electronic medical record – which shows a detailed history of care rendered to that person anywhere across the state – but they can also take advantage of useful alerting and imaging services.
For instance, if a particular patient needs extra attention, a provider can elect to have alerts sent to his or her cell phone or email whenever that patient receives inpatient treatment or is admitted to the emergency room.
"In our region, we are leveraging alerting to engage care managers early in the admission process, to ensure that when the patient is discharged from a hospital's emergency department, they receive follow-up care in order to prevent unnecessary readmissions or repeat emergency visits," Mr. Zeigler said. "This improves their quality of life, the quality of care they receive and reduces unnecessary costs."
Medical images – such as MRIs, X-rays, mammograms or CT scans – from 28 central and northern New York radiology centers are also available to providers on HealtheConnections. This capability enables providers to view and share diagnostic-quality images across radiology sources, helping to cut down on unnecessary and costly tests.
"HealtheConnections, like FDRHPO and other partners, supports meaningful use of the health information exchange to enable regional providers to transform and improve patient care, improve provider convenience and efficiency, and assist in lowering health care costs," Mr. Hack said.
Joining the health information exchange is free for providers. Those interested should contact HealtheConnections at 671-2241 or visit www.HealtheConnections.org.
About the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization
The Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization (FDRHPO) is an agency that strengthens the North Country Healthcare System for Fort Drum soldiers, their families and the surrounding civilian community. FDRHPO connects the Military Treatment Facility with the regional healthcare system. FDRHPO does not provide services; rather our role is to evaluate, plan and strengthen the link between Fort Drum community members and quality health care in Northern NY. For more information about FDRHPO, visit www.fdrhpo.org.
In collaboration with Central New York health care providers and stakeholders, HealtheConnections (pronounced "healthy connections") delivers trusted and valued services to support health care transformation and efficiency initiatives focused on achieving the triple aim of better care, better population health and lower health care costs. HealtheConnections provides unbiased, neutral health information exchange (HIE) services, electronic health record (EHR) adoption, technical and meaningful use advisement services and population health improvement support services for the 11 counties of the Central New York region. The name HealtheConnections represents our commitment to connect and engage Central New York health care physicians, hospitals, public health, mental and behavior health and human services, and other health care providing entities, insurers, businesses and consumers to collaborate to deliver improvement services and initiatives that support regional and New York state's health information exchange and population health improvement agendas. For more information about HealtheConnections, visit www.HealtheConnections.org.
About Fort Drum MEDDAC
The U.S. Army Medical Department Activity (MEDDAC) Fort Drum and Guthrie Ambulatory Health Care Clinic provides high quality healthcare and leadership to maximize medical readiness of the force and improve, restore, and sustain the health of our patients. For more information about Fort Drum MEDDAC, visit http://www.drum.amedd.army.mil/SitePages/Home.aspx.
CONTACT: Eli Anderson
315-755-2020 ext. 51
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SOURCE HealtheConnections; Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization