COVID-19 Response

March 25, 2020

The NC HealthConnex team has developed a COVID-19 Quick Reference Guide, a document that walks providers through how to access COVID-19 patient results in the NC HealthConnex clinical portal. Follow the link here for the COVID-19 Quick Reference Guide.

March 20, 2020

Over the last few weeks, our communities have experienced a variety of challenges and uncertainty from the coronavirus. We understand that many of your health care organizations are on the front line of this public health crisis. During this volatile time with changes happening daily, we want to share our thoughts and well wishes for all of you to remain healthy.

We also want you to know that we’re here to help. Supporting communities with real-time patient data during an emergency is a proven use case of HIEs like NC HealthConnex.

Below are several measures the NC HIEA team is taking to ensure that patient data continues to flow uninterrupted across our state in the coming weeks.

The NC HIEA team is encouraging providers to use the CDC-recommended ICD-10 codes to enable tracking the spread of confirmed and unconfirmed COVID-19 coronavirus cases in North Carolina. See https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/icd/icd10cm.htm.

The U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention has updated its guidance for clinical evaluation of persons under investigation for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The guidance is intended to assist health departments and clinicians when determining whether a patient should be tested for COVID-19. The guidelines were expanded to now include a person with a fever and severe acute lower respiratory illness (e.g., pneumonia, ARDS) requiring hospitalization for whom there is not an alternative explanatory diagnosis (e.g., influenza), even when no source of exposure has been identified.

NC HealthConnex Third Weekend Maintenance Moved Due to COVID-19

The NC HIEA and SAS Help Desk recently communicated that the monthly third-weekend maintenance notification outlining potential impacts to NC HealthConnex participant connections between Saturday, March 21, 2020, at 7 a.m. EST and Sunday, March 22, 2020, at 5 p.m. EST.

In light of the COVID-19 crisis, we understand the impact this could have to data sharing during this critical time and have therefore been working closely with our technical teams to reduce the downtime risks of the planned maintenance.

In order to move key components to an infrastructure that is less susceptible to the work taking place this weekend, we will need a brief 10-minute maintenance window on Thursday, March 19, at 4 p.m. EST. During this window, you might receive errors or queuing on the interfaces connected to the HIE.

If you have any questions please reach out to the HIE Helpdesk at 919-531-2700 or email HIESupport@SAS.com.

The NC HIEA team members will be working remotely until further notice.

  • Phone calls – Although we are forwarding the main phone line and checking voice messages, the most efficient means by which to contact the NC HIEA team will be via email at hiea@nc.gov or to individual HIEA team members’ email or mobile numbers.
  • Virtual training available – During the next two to four weeks, in-person training will need to be rescheduled, or participants may choose a virtual option via the Training Request Form.

The NC HIEA is developing and implementing plans to accelerate the process of gaining access to patient data via NC HealthConnex to support current or new participants in implementing new portal or alert services.

The NC HealthConnex Help Desk and technical support teams are fully staffed and ready to assist all participants with the NC HealthConnex portal and their live data connections.  

If you are a current NC HIEA participant and need technical assistance, please first contact your organization’s HIEA participant account administrator (PAA) before contacting the SAS NC HealthConnex Help Desk. The SAS NC HealthConnex Help Desk will work with your participant account administrator to resolve issues quickly and efficiently. They will also be able to determine if the issue you are experiencing is specific to you or a more widespread problem.

  • General technical support hours of operation: Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST
  • Email: HIESupport@sas.com
  • Phone: 919-531-2700
  • To make sure your call is handled efficiently, when contacting the Help Desk, indicate that you would like to reach the NC HealthConnex Help Desk.  
  • Emergency issues after hours: You should report after-hours issues by calling 919-531-2700. This will guarantee a timely response to your issue. Because we cannot guarantee less than 24-hour response on problems tracked electronically, if you choose to send an email or enter a Technical Support Form, your issue will be addressed the morning of the following business day.

Knowing the health of new and referred patients is critical during this public health crisis. Related to COVID-19, NC HealthConnex will help providers working either in the office or remotely in the following ways:

  • Access to patient’s longitudinal record across health care settings via the secure web-based access that allows patient data to be viewed online
  • Enable practices to view patient history, hospital and ER admissions/discharges, lab test results (especially as it related to COVID-19 and other respiratory or influenza diagnosis codes) as they are made available via participant EHRs
  • Direct messaging between providers so that providers can electronically communicate with one another

What you need to do to expand your access:

  • NC HealthConnex Clinical Portal – You can gain new or expanded portal access during the crisis, either because you have not implemented portal access previously or because new individuals within your organization need portal access during this time.
  • Alerts via NC*Notify – Sent to designated clinicians or third party based upon a patient panel.
    • You can update your patient panel, or add a new panel, to monitor your more vulnerable populations during the crisis.

To implement either of these services, please contact the NC HIEA provider relations team at hiea@nc.gov and mention that you are requesting PRIORITY access related to COVID-19 so that we can accelerate your implementation. The secure exchange of reliable and timely patient data is critical during a health care crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation and communicate to all NC HIEA stakeholders as the situation evolves.  

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the HIEA provider relations team at hiea@nc.gov.