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December 2018 Update

Monday, December 17, 2018

Connecting the State, One Organization at a Time

The NC HIEA has been incredibly busy in 2018, connecting health care facilities across North Carolina and planning for the next three years of growth. By the end of 2021, we anticipate NC HealthConnex will link more than 85% of health care providers statewide to efficiently share patient data and improve care delivery and outcomes.

A NC HIEA Roadmap 2021 that provides strategic focus and details key initiatives and goals is currently under development and anticipated to be available by early 2019.

By the Numbers:

  • More than 4,000 facilities live sending data
  • More than 3,000 clinical portal users
  • More than 3,500 facilities in process to connect
  • 6.3 million unique patient records (as of Nov. 1)

For full reports on connected organizations and the data they’re providing, as well as connected EHR systems, check the links below:

Upgrades to the NC HealthConnex Platform

Delivering on its responsibility to connect the state’s health care ecosystem through a modern HIE infrastructure, the NC HIEA is leveraging state appropriated funds specifically appointed to upgrade the existing HIE Platform. The NC HIEA, together with our partners at SAS Institute, is pleased to announce that it will complete the transition of NC HealthConnex to the InterSystems HealthShare HIE platform in the first quarter of 2019.

Standout benefits of this new platform include enhanced data mapping, reporting, improved clinical portal and consent capabilities. Participants should note that the transition will not affect their access to NC HealthConnex, and users of the NC HealthConnex Clinical Portal will be offered additional training on the new look and features available upon its release.

“The seamless collaboration and teamwork the NC HIEA shares with our technical vendors is the secret sauce to North Carolina’s future connectivity success,” said Christie Burris, Executive Director of NC HIEA. “The first step to improving statewide connectivity was to overcome the data governance challenges that impact so many care facilities, both in North Carolina and beyond. Now with the decision to utilize InterSystems as the HIE’s engine, NC HealthConnex is delivering on its purpose to power consistent data exchanges across the state and is seeing a direct benefit to patient lives as a result.”

More information on timing and features of the new platform will be communicated closer to the transition.

Leveraging NC HealthConnex to Combat Opioid Misuse

The HIEA is working with the NC Department of Health and Human Services and Appriss Health to build a single sign-on to the NC HealthConnex clinical portal utilizing the Appriss interface.

This integration will create an additional pathway for providers to access the state’s prescription drug monitoring program, NC CSRS (Controlled Substances Reporting System) and help combat the opioid epidemic in North Carolina. Per the Strengthen Opioid Misuse Prevention (STOP) Act of 2017, or the STOP Act (NCSL 2017-74), health care providers in North Carolina who prescribe controlled substances must access a patient report from the CSRS to verify a patient’s prescription fill history of controlled substances prior to writing prescriptions for targeted controlled substances.

This phase 1 integration allows the end user already accessing the longitudinal NC HealthConnex clinical portal to view the CSRS report along with the risk scores without leaving the HIE Portal. This simple process does not require the user to log into another system outside of the HIE portal and is integrated into the portal workflow. When the provider views the report, the system automatically records that into the audit logs, providing support for CSRS use requirements in the STOP Act. The anticipated delivery of this service is Quarter 1 of 2019.

Additional means of delivering CSRS reports and data directly into NC HealthConnex participants’ workflows are also being explored for subsequent implementation. The NC HIEA anticipates this work later next year to be especially beneficial for participants that utilize an EHR that cannot support the Appriss API, as well as others who wish to limit the number of new interfaces to external systems.

NC*Notify Enrollment is Open

In September, the NC HIEA announced the launch of NC*Notify, a statewide event notification service that notifies providers of their patients’ health events outside of their organization or EHR in a timely manner to support successful transitions of care and improve care management. NC*Notify leverages ADT events as well as ambulatory encounters to provide this insight.

Throughout 2019 and 2020, the NC HIEA will build additional NC*Notify functionality and capacity, including additional data formats and delivery methods, inclusion of more HIE data and relevant health data from other state systems, and eventually clinical intelligence that will drive more actionable, real-time notifications to improve care management and population health initiatives.

The NC HIEA encourages full participants of NC HealthConnex to consider the benefits of NC*Notify and enroll today. For more information on how NC*Notify can help with patient care needs, visit the links below.

Benefits of NC*Notify

How Does It Work?

Frequently Asked Questions

Enrollment Form

Still have questions? Reach out to the NC HIEA provider relations team at (919) 754-6912 or via email at hiea@nc.gov.

Community Health and Broadband Grant Opportunities Available

Two distinct grant opportunities aimed at improving information technology infrastructure and expanding primary care services in rural and underserved areas are now open and accepting applications.

Community Health Grants from the Office of Rural Health

Applications for community health grants through the NC Office of Rural Health (NC ORH) will be accepted November 1, 2018 through February 1, 2019 for funding throughout state fiscal year 2020 (July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020). These grant funds, supported through the North Carolina General Assembly, are for assuring access to primary and preventive care to meet the health needs of our state’s most vulnerable populations. Strengthening the safety net through increased levels of collaboration and integration of services and organizations to more effectively meet the needs of those served is also an important purpose of this grant.

Primary care safety net organizations who care for underserved and medically indigent patients in the state are eligible to apply for this funding to pay for patient care through encounter-based reimbursement (Track A) or through reimbursement for eligible expenses (Track B). Telehealth services and equipment are eligible expenses in both tracks. Applicants must select ONE track. Note, all primary care safety net organizations that provide direct primary and preventive care and serve as a medical home are eligible to apply. This includes:

  • Federally qualified health centers and look-alikes (FQHCs),
  • Free and charitable clinics,
  • Health departments,
  • Hospital-owned primary care clinics,
  • Rural health centers,
  • School-based and school-linked health centers,
  • AHEC clinics,
  • Other non-profit community organizations that provide direct primary and preventive patient care to low-income, uninsured, underinsured and medically vulnerable populations.

Visit the DHHS ORH Website for additional information.

Grants to Expand Broadband from the NC Department of Information Technology

The $10 million GREAT Grant Program is the state’s first public grant program designed to expand broadband access in North Carolina. The program was established by the legislature after Governor Cooper included a similar initiative in his last two budget proposals. It allows internet service providers and electric membership cooperatives to compete for funding to help improve broadband service in the state’s 40 Tier One counties.

Eligible areas are census blocks or portions of census blocks in Tier One counties that lack access to a service providing a minimum of 10 Megabits per second download and 1 Megabit per second upload speeds. The state classifies the 40 most economically distressed counties in the state as Tier One counties. The application process is open from November 9, 2018 through February 1, 2019.

Visit the GREAT Grant Program Website for additional information and to apply.

NC HIEA Calendar of Events:

  • How to Connect Call – January 28, 2019 – Click here to register. Interested providers are invited to join a monthly "How to Connect" call to learn about who we are, the state mandate, steps to connect, and value-added features.
  • Teletown Hall Recording - If you missed the last quarterly Teletown Hall held in November, you can listen to a recorded version here.

If your organization would like a member of the HIEA Outreach team to present at a meeting or conference, please contact Jessica Brehmer at Jessica.Brehmer@nc.gov.

Questions? Contact NC HIEA at hiea@nc.gov or call (919) 754-6912.

Calling All Participant Feedback

If you’re a participant of NC HealthConnex, the NC HIEA wants to hear from you. Stay tuned for an email with a link to a brief survey requesting information on your use of NC HealthConnex, data sharing needs and how the NC HIEA can support you in improving patient care and health outcomes.

In Other News

How HIE Adoption Simplifies, Streamlines Health Data Exchange

HIE adoption can help health care organizations increase rates of health data exchange and succeed in federal incentive programs. ehrintelligence.com

HHS has a plan to reduce health IT, EHR burden

HHS releases strategy to ease the use of health information technology, including electronic health records. The agency’s draft strategy takes aim at some major complaints clinicians have about using EHRs, including documentation hours taking away from time spent with patients. Healthexec.com

 

The HIEA would like to wish NC HealthConnex participants and numerous stakeholders a wonderful holiday season and joyous New Year!