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Christopher Jason

The new state-wide health information exchange already has two of Mississippi’s largest health systems in the fold.

The Mississippi Hospital Association (MHA) has established a state-wide health information exchange (HIE) that aims to increase interoperability and enhance the connection between Mississippi hospitals and physicians as they transition toward value-based care.

With three regional hospitals and two of the largest health systems in the state already involved, the HIE is set to launch within the next month. The organization said it expects additional hospitals to join over the summer.  

To get the exchange going, MHA partnered with Care Continuity to utilize its navigation technology and patient advocacy technology to its committed health systems across the state.

“Our partnership with Care Continuity allows all Mississippi providers to deliver care to their patients fully aware of key events impacting them, such as a visit to an emergency department, while also ensuring that all members of the patient care team are working from the same set of information,” Timothy H. Moore, president and CEO of MHA, said in a statement.

“This will help our hospitals address one of the greatest challenges in health care — delivering the right care at the right time.”

First, the HIE will feature inpatient admissions, emergency department visits, and post-acute care transition notifications for providers.

Once the HIE is launched, health systems will eventually be able to access capabilities such as, secure clinical document exchange, provider-to-provider referral management, and support for collaboration within patient-centered care teams and payers. Physicians will also be able to access customizable text or email admission notifications for all connected health systems.

Along with the additional HIE capabilities, the state-wide exchange aims to reduce costs and improve patient care by lowering the chances of duplicative testing and linking providers throughout the state. It also meets the recent Medicaid and Medicare service standards, which awards health systems that can show they are reducing hospital re-admissions and improving care quality.

“Providing the data infrastructure to enable health systems to track patients through their individual journey will ensure patients are receiving quality care in a timely manner,” said Andrew Thorby, CEO, Care Continuity.

Mississippi’s HIE was announced just days after Connecticut launched a state-wide HIE when it inked its first client, Connecticut State Medical Society’s CTHealthLink.

Over the past decade, Connecticut’s government leaders found out the hard way how difficult it is to implement a state-wide HIE.

First, the state attempted to launch the HIE four times prior to this connection, costing the state millions of dollars. More recently, a Connecticut Health Foundation report said the state’s organizers must develop long-term financial plans for sustainability and attract participants before launching the HIE.

Now that the HIE is connected to CTHealthLink, the two organizations aim to improve patient care, enhance interoperability throughout the state, and upgrade Connecticut’s healthcare delivery system.

“Good information is critical for good healthcare; the HIE will help providers get patient information quickly and that improves care, reduces redundant testing, and lowers costs,” Vicki Veltri, executive director of the Office of Health Strategy, said in a statement.

“Individual and public health awareness is front page news – and Connecticut is now officially on the path that 45 other states have already traveled, with a more effective healthcare delivery model to show for it. The Connecticut State Medical Society’s CTHealthlink represents thousands of providers across the state and we welcome them to the HIE.”

The HIE said it aims to introduce the benefits of the new exchange system, while prioritizing patient privacy and security.

“Improving healthcare delivery for Connecticut residents should be a constant goal for health leaders and I’m ecstatic to see this platform up and running,” said Connecticut senator, Mary Daugherty Abrams. “It will reduce costs and improve efficiency, both of which are sorely needed. Especially amid the current COVID-19 crisis, this will undoubtedly improve healthcare across our state.”