Healthcare Leaders & Public Officials Celebrate Nearly $700,000 in Funding Aimed at Accelerating Use of the Commonwealth’s statewide Health Information Exchange
SPRINGFIELD, MASS. - The Massachusetts eHealth Institute (MeHI) at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative hosted a regional kickoff event this morning at Baystate Medical Center to highlight the benefits of the HIway Implementation Grants, a program to assist healthcare providers access and share healthcare data via the state’s new electronic Health Information Exchange, the Mass HIway. Recipients honored at the event included regional health care leaders such as Baystate Health, Berkshire Health Systems, Holyoke Health Center, North Adams Regional Hospital, and Noble Hospital, as well as collaborating providers from around Western Mass, including acute care facilities, behavioral and mental health organizations, and specialist providers.
In total, eight grantees and 19 individual collaborating organizations across Western Massachusetts were awarded $673,989 in funds to advance the exchange of electronic health information via the Mass HIway. By using the state’s health information exchange, the Mass HIway, health practitioners are able to securely connect with and coordinate patient care with partner providers.
“Through these new connections to the Mass HIway, we are establishing advanced linkages among providers throughout Western Mass, while extending their ability to connect and share information with providers across the Commonwealth,” stated Pamela Goldberg, CEO of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. “This event is a great convening of professionals who are revolutionizing healthcare in Massachusetts, by improving the quality of care for patients in Western Massachusetts through the innovative use of eHealth technologies.”
These grants are part of a statewide program of 32 collaborative projects that will allow 80 partnering health care organizations from across the Commonwealth to connect to the Mass HIway, enabling them to improve patient care and reduce costs.
“Ensuring accessibility to affordable and effective health care is extremely important here in Western Massachusetts”, said State Senator James Welch (D - West Springfield). “One essential component of meeting that goal is having the technology to access and share data, so our providers can make the best decisions for their patients. The Massachusetts eHealth Institute and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services continue to play a critical role in supporting this work. I am excited to hear more about the progress of the Implementation Grants.”
“These investments are helping patients and health care providers in western Massachusetts take advantage of today’s technology, improving our medical record keeping practices, and, hopefully, making access to our personal records easier while lessening wait times, human error, and improving care,” said State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D - Pittsfield). “I’m excited to see Berkshire Health Systems and North Adams Regional Hospital make this transition to eHealth records with the help of Mass HIway.”
In 2012, MeHI and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services launched the statewide health information exchange, the Mass HIway, allowing for secure electronic health information to be transmitted between health care providers and organizations. MeHI works to advance the use and interoperability of electronic health records by supporting adoption of the Mass HIway through the Last Mile Program.
Part of the Mass HIway Last Mile Program, the Implementation Grants are designed to accelerate connections to the Mass HIway by shifting existing processes away from paper-based exchanges and those using proprietary interfaces, ultimately demonstrate measurable improvements in care quality, population health, and cost containment through use of health information technology. The Last Mile Program is funded through the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“Roughly 70% of the physicians and over 90% of the acute care hospitals in the Commonwealth are using electronic health records, and Western Massachusetts has been at the forefront of this revolution, through the creation of collaborative efforts like the Pioneer Valley Information Exchange,” said Laurance Stuntz, Director of the Massachusetts eHealth Institute at MassTech.“It’s our hope that these grants will help those regional efforts to grow, while increasing engagement and data sharing on a statewide basis via the Mass HIway. With full statewide electronic collaboration, we will see concrete impacts to the quality of patient care, reduced administrative costs, and medication errors that are common under the current paper-based system.”
The full list of Western Massachusetts grantees, collaborators, and award amounts are as follows:
Grantee: Baystate Health, Inc.
Collaborators: Baystate Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice, Mercy Medical Center Center/Sisters of Providence Health System, RiverBend Medical Group, Baycare Health Partners, Valley Medical Associates
Description: Care summary exchanges to improve care transitions of Heart Failure patients
Grantee: Berkshire Health Systems
Collaborators: Baystate Medical Center, Suburban Internal Medicine, Berkshire OB/GYN Associates
Description: Cardiac care referrals from a regional hospital to a tertiary care center
Grantee: Center for Human Development, Inc.
Collaborators: Caring Health Center, Community Health Center of Franklin County, Holyoke Health Center
Description: Integrate primary and behavioral health care through information exchange
Grantee: Clinical & Support Options, Inc.
Collaborators: Baystate Franklin Medical Center, Cooley-Dickinson Hospital, Athol Memorial Hospital
Description: Transfer clinical and BH information between behavioral health providers and the acute care hospitals
Grantee: Cutchins Programs for Children & Families
Collaborator: Executive Office of Health & Human Services
Description: Exchange public health information between behavioral health counseling center and Department of Public Health
Grantee: Holyoke Health Center
Collaborators: Holyoke Medical Center, River Valley Counseling Center
Description: Exchange referrals & clinical info. between community health center, hospital, behavioral health center & other community providers
Grantee: North Adams Regional Hospital
Collaborator: Orthopedic Association of Northern Berkshire
Description: Discharge summaries/ Continuity of Care Documents from hospital to specialist; referrals from specialist to hospital
Grantee: North Adams Regional Hospital
Collaborator: Northshore Berkshire Pediatrics, Northern Berkshire VNA
Description: Send Continuity of Care Documents from the NARH VNA to NB Pedi; NB Pedi send referrals to VNA for home services patients
Grantee: Trustees of Noble Hospital
Collaborator: Pediatric Associates of Hamden County, Hampden County Physician Associates
Description: Lab orders transmitted from pediatric practice to hospital
About the Massachusetts eHealth Institute
The Massachusetts eHealth Institute (MeHI) at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative is the state's entity for health care innovation, technology, and competitiveness and is responsible for advancing the dissemination of health information technology throughout Massachusetts, including the deployment of electronic health records systems in all health care provider settings and connecting them through the statewide health information exchange. For more information, please visit mehi.masstech.org and follow @MassEHealth.
About the Mass HIway
The Massachusetts Health Information Highway (Mass HIway) is a collaboration between the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) and MeHI to deploy a secure statewide health information exchange. The Mass HIway enables the electronic movement of health related information among diverse organizations, such as doctors’ offices, hospitals, laboratories, pharmacies, skilled nursing facilities and health plans. The HIway facilitates the exchange of clinical information among varied health care information systems, while maintaining the meaning of the information being exchanged, regardless of provider affiliation, location or differences in technology. Using the HIway can give doctors and other clinicians a more comprehensive understanding of their patients’ full medical histories to inform a more complete delivery of their healthcare. You can follow updates at #MassHIway.