Sharing patient information with all parties involved with caring for a patient is a critical component of lowering costs and improving care. Missouri Health Connection (MHC) is working to make health information exchange among Missouri healthcare providers a reality.
Large health systems Mercy, SSM, BJC, and the state of Missouri (Medicaid) began using the health information exchange this month. MHC hopes to connect all providers in the state, as well as existing regional information exchanges, to ensure complete healthcare information is available for all Missouri residents.
Here’s a few things you should know about Missouri Health Connection:
- There are two levels of participation in the statewide exchange:
- MHC Care Net is the full suite of products (including Care Mail below) that will allow bi-directional exchange of data between your EHR and other providers of care. Real-time, consolidated clinical information is provided at the point of care.
- MHC Care Mail provides you with a “Direct” account, which is a secure messaging system—like e-mail (only encrypted and secure)—that allows you to send messages and attachments directly to another provider with whom you have a relationship.
- An MHC Care Net account will allow you to submit data for public health reporting purposes, including the Missouri Immunization Registry, Syndromic Surveillance and reportable lab results, without purchasing an additional interface from your vendor. (These are Meaningful Use requirements–some vendors have quoted costs of $2000 or more to set up an interface to the state Immunization Registry.)
- The cost of joining MHC depends on the size of your practice. For example, an eight-doctor practice would pay $2250 per year for the full suite of MHC Care Net services.
- There is no cost for a patient to participate, and patients may set up an online personal health record for free. Patients are given an opportunity to opt-out of participation in MHC.
- Your EHR must be able to meet a standard specification for exchange. MHC is working with vendors to make certain this can be met, but there is a possibility that an additional cost may be incurred for some EHRs.
For more information and to sign up for the statewide information exchange, contact MHC directly at 573.777.4550 and ask for Angie Bass, Director of Business Development &B Client Relations. Early adopters—that is, anyone that signs on with MHC during 2013—will not have to pay an implementation fee.
Building a statewide—and nationwide—network for health information exchange is a process that will continue to develop over time. Access to complete health information will improve the quality of medical decision-making, enhance coordination of care, reduce preventable medical errors, avoid duplication of treatment, improve public health and empower Missourians to take a more active role in their own health care.