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Emory and Grady join Georgia's first statewide Electronic Health Information Exchange

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Janet Christenbury

The Georgia Health Information Network will improve care coordination, which can help in reducing adverse events, complications, hospital readmissions and duplicative testing.

Emory Healthcare and Grady Health System join Georgia's Department of Public Health and the state's Medicaid program in connecting to the Georgia Health Information Network (GaHIN), the statewide health information exchange network that electronically connects Georgia hospitals, physicians and clinicians to safely and securely exchange patient health information. Connecting to GaHIN allows Emory and Grady to augment continuity of care by enhancing patient care coordination among its authorized providers and affiliates and improves access to a patient's information for diagnosis and treatment.

"Traditionally, patient health information has been difficult to share across care settings," said Denise Hines, executive director of GaHIN. "By connecting Emory and Grady to GaHIN, they can now provide its care delivery teams with comprehensive and up-to-date information on which to base care decisions."

Created as a public-private partnership under the leadership of the Department of Community Health (DCH), Health IT Division, GaHIN's ConnectedCare technology gives its members the ability to access a more complete view of their patients' health information directly from their electronic health record (EHR) systems. This minimizes manual and often time-consuming processes. Patients also benefit as GaHIN helps to gather information from multiple sources and provide this information to the caregiver at the time of service. This improves care coordination, which can help reduce adverse events, complications, hospital readmissions and duplicative testing.

"This collaborative effort between the public and private sectors is a significant step for Georgia," said Kelly Gonzalez, chief, DCH Division of Health IT. "Our goal is to educate, engage and connect more providers to GaHIN as we work to lead the nation in health information technology."

Providers at Emory and Grady can improve both direct care delivery and coordination by having ever-present access to clinical information, such as Medicaid health and pharmacy information and immunization updates and reporting from the Georgia Registry of Immunization Transactions and Services (GRITS), managed by the Department of Public Health.

"Health information exchange is THE critical technology path to care coordination across all domains of care," said Dee Cantrell, CIO, Emory Healthcare. "We are quite excited and pleased to be the first health system in Georgia to connect with the Georgia Health Information Network."

Deborah Cancilla, SVP, CIO of Grady Health system stated, "Being on the leading edge of technological advances that improve patient care is a key component of Grady's transformation, as we continue to improve operational efficiencies and enhance the patient experience." She continued, "Understanding the industry trend towards empowering the patient and making their health information more readily available is another important reason for Grady's GaHIN membership."

With GaHIN, providers will be able to take advantage of existing and future services including lab routing, admission, discharge and transfer alerts, as well as future inter-operability through a nationwide Health Information Exchange.

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