NC HIEA August 2023 Update

NC HealthConnex Helps Manage Vaccinations through the NCIR, Info for Former CCHIE Participants, NC HIEA Presents at NC HIMSS

Author: Jessica Hagins

New! Notices and Alerts Section of NC HIEA Website

In order to provide timely updates and alerts of specific situations affecting participants of the North Carolina Health Information Exchange Authority (NC HIEA), we have created a web page that details issues such as the following:

  • Interrupted or Broken Data Connections (Feeds)
  • Emergency Preparedness Information
  • Temporary Situations Affecting Certain Participants

Please visit this new page to see information on how to be prepared for Hurricane Idalia, current data connections experiencing an interruption, and information for CCHIE participants (also see below in this newsletter).

How NC HealthConnex Helps Providers and the Division of Public Health Manage Vaccinations

August is National Immunization Awareness Month, a time when health care professionals and public health officials are reminding the public of the importance of routine vaccinations. The observance comes just as children head back to school, and illnesses such as cold, flu, RSV and COVID-19 are on the rise. The CDC is likely to recommend an annual COVID-19 vaccine along with the annual flu vaccine this fall.

We spoke with Caroline Helton, Vaccine Systems and Support unit manager from the Immunization Branch of the N.C. Division of Public Health (DPH), about how NC HealthConnex, the state-designated health information exchange, supports the data in the North Carolina Immunization Registry (NCIR) and improves workflow for public health officials and providers.

The NCIR was developed in 2005 as a birth-to-death immunization registry that captures data on vaccines administered by providers throughout the state. The registry facilitates reporting of statewide immunization data for public health officials and helps providers manage vaccine administration to patients.

“It’s important to keep a complete record on the patient, especially as transient as a lot of folks are nowadays,” said Helton. “If they’re seen by health departments and pharmacies and various other providers, the NCIR keeps all of their immunization information in one location.”

Some providers electronically submit vaccine data by logging into the NCIR directly. However, if the provider is connected to the NCIR through NC HealthConnex, the vaccine information is sent automatically to the registry via existing integrations with their electronic medical record system (EMR). This saves providers time by eliminating double data entry into their EMR and separately into the NCIR.

“Which helps with data quality,” said Helton, “because providers don’t forget to enter vaccines in one system or another. I'm sure they don't forget to enter the data into their EMR or their EHR, but they could potentially forget to enter it in NCIR, for example. So, NC HealthConnex is helping to ensure that we're getting complete data because it's reducing that burden.”

Connecting to the NCIR through NC HealthConnex can also save costs for providers because they do not have to pay to make a technical connection to both systems. While the N.C. Health Information Exchange Authority (NC HIEA), which operates NC HealthConnex, offers its services free of charge, some EHR vendors do charge to make this technical connection. 

Connecting to either system does require technical testing to conform to implementation standards. Providers who have a Full Participation Agreement with the NC HIEA and are interested in building a connection to the NCIR via NC HealthConnex should first verify that their EHR is ONC-certified.

The EHR vendor will then work with your health care organization to determine a pilot facility. If you are a Vaccine for Children (VFC) facility, you would need to be evaluated before onboarding. After testing is complete, the pilot facility will be monitored for any issues that need to be resolved before additional facilities using the same EHR can be onboarded.

Providers can also view immunization information submitted to NC HealthConnex and parsed from CCDs without having to log into another system. This means more time saved calling providers to see if a patient has received a vaccination at another provider's office.

Based on the age and history of the patient, the registry can also give providers recommendations on suggested doses and indicate if a patient, especially a child, is due for a vaccination. Providers can also use it for inventory management and placing orders for vaccines. Automated reporting to the NCIR can also help providers meet certain Promoting Interoperability requirements.

The Immunization Branch uses the NCIR for public health reporting to the state and federal government. They are required to account for all the doses that providers use through the Vaccines for Children program. They also evaluate the doses administered for equity and assess how well immunized populations are at certain ages.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Immunization Branch used the Covid Vaccine Management System (CVMS), to assess COVID vaccinations. NC HealthConnex was also a data partner for this system. As the COVID-19 vaccine becomes part of routine care, this reporting is transitioning back to the NCIR.

Helton said that NC HealthConnex has been a huge benefit to streamlining that reporting workflow, especially for pharmacies.

“With COVID, the pharmacies were responsible for administering a lot of the doses,” said Helton, “Getting that information through NC HealthConnex has really helped with the record keeping. Going back to that complete immunization record, it has helped increase the number of providers who are currently connected.”

And the more providers who are connected to NC HealthConnex, the more complete the data flowing to the NCIR, as providers only have to enter vaccine information into one system. This helps the Immunization Branch achieve greater accuracy in their reporting of vaccines and doses to the CDC.

If you are a Full Participant of the NC HIEA and would like more information on connecting to the NCIR, please visit our website or contact us at


Connection Information for Former Participants of the CCHIE

The Coastal Connect Health Information Exchange (CCHIE) closed on Tuesday, August 8, 2023. Even though CCHIE support resources are no longer available, the NC HIEA team is ready to support the transition needs of those affected.

Many CCHIE participants are actively transitioning their data feeds to NC HealthConnex. The NC HIEA is maintaining a detailed roster of previous CCHIE participants and can provide more information about what data can be expected to be available upon request. More information on the transition can be found on our website.

We highly encourage former CCHIE participants to complete a NC HIEA Participation Agreement if they have not already done so. The PDF form may be completed electronically and emailed to

If you have specific questions regarding your practice or need additional information, please contact our team at 919-754-6912 or We look forward to hearing from and working with you in the days to come. 

NC HIEA and Cary Medical Management to Present at NC HIMSS Conference

The North Carolina chapter of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (NC HIMSS) is holding its annual conference on October 2-3, 2023, at the Mariott Crabtree in Raleigh, NC. The theme of this year’s conference is Healthy Living: Exploring the Intersection of Technology and Wellness.

Christie Burris, executive director of the NC HIEA and Dr. Siu Tong, CEO of Cary Medical Management (CMM) will give a joint presentation entitled “Leveraging Technological Tools to Lower the Cost of Care in Value-Based Care Models.”

Dr. Tong and Ms. Burris will discuss how leveraging software robotic technology and the data within NC HealthConnex has led to an average 21.75% savings for Medicare and commercially-insured patients served by CMM’s facilities.

This session will also provide a look into how CMM uses the statewide event notification service, NC*Notify, to deliver better care coordination and how the Provider Clinical Portal allows CMM providers to access a more comprehensive view of patients’ health status.

The speakers will explain use cases, provide an overview of the services of NC HealthConnex, including technology and resources required, and share lessons learned. 

Employee Spotlight

Headshot of employee

Luke Keeler

Business Development and Outreach Specialist

Luke Keeler is the newest Business Development Specialist to join the NC HIEA. He started in May 2023.

Luke has 15 years of experience working in public health with a focus on communicable diseases. He previously worked at local health departments in educational, outreach and community engagement programs as a health educator and in one-on-one client services in clinical settings as a Disease Intervention Specialist. Most recently, Luke worked for the Division of Public Health as the communications and social media coordinator for the HIV/STD/Hepatitis Prevention and Care Unit and as the COVID-19 Community Team Outreach Tool System Manager.

Luke is excited to join the NC HIEA team to help increase access to NC HealthConnex.   

Connex Kudos:

“Managing Care Solutions has the capability to provide patients with supplemental care to achieve greater positive health outcomes due to tools and resources provided by NC HealthConnex. NC HealthConnex creates a centralized source for patient history, medications, hospital visits, active problem list, and more, making care coordination and individualized patient centered care more achievable than ever before.

Utilizing the ADT alerts for hospital discharges provided by NC Notify, an event notification service through NC HealthConnex, Managing Care Solutions performs patient outreach providing discharge education, medication reconciliation, and schedule a face to face follow up with their primary care provider within the 7-to-14-day time frame. Bidirectionally interfaced with the clinician’s EMR, the primary care provider can view the patient’s history with just a few clicks, proven to increase the quality of care and reduce hospital readmissions. Partnered with NC HealthConnex, we have not only been able to increase access to care but improve the quality of care while reducing cost.”

- Meghan Casanova, Director of Operations, Managing Care Solutions 

Managing Care Solutions, affiliated with Cary Medical Management, is a clinical team comprised of registered nurses, practical nurses, and medical assistants, that offers a variety of care management and value-based care services.


Upcoming Events:

  • Advisory Board Meeting – Monday, September 11, 2023 – 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Register here.

  • Teletown Hall: Quarter 3 – Wednesday, September 13, 2023 – 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Register here.

  • How to Connect Call – Monday, September 25, 2023 – 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Register here.

  • How to Connect Call - Monday, October 30, 2023 – 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Register here.


In The News:

Getting Ready for EHI Export: A Quick Guide - All certified Health IT Modules that are part of a health IT product that stores electronic health information (EHI) are required to certify to the Electronic Health Information export criterion (45 CFR 170.315 (b)(10)) and make the functionality available to end users by December 31, 2023.

What Technologies Do Providers Need for Value-Based Care Success? - As more healthcare providers get on board with value-based care, they must invest in technologies and resources to ensure success.

How Providers Can Defend Against AI-Assisted Cyberattacks - From crafting phishing emails to developing malware code, AI enables threat actors to speed up the rate and volume of their attacks.

Healthcare Incurs Highest Data Breach Costs – for the 13th Year in a Row - New research revealed that the global average cost of a data breach reached $4.45 million.

Read more cybersecurity news and tips in the N.C. Department of Information Technology's Enterprise Security and Risk Management Office's August Cybersecurity newsletter.

Find more cybersecurity and risk management resourcesfrom the N.C. Department of Information Technology.