Missouri health information exchange on schedule for fall completion

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Nonprofit organization Missouri Health Connect (MHC) and healthcare IT company Cerner are expected to finalize a contract which will ensure the timely completion of the state’s Health Information Exchange (HIE) in the fall, according to Healthcare IT News.

According to the official MHC website, more than 80 individuals from private medical practices, state government, patient advocacy groups and legal organizations have been involved in the planning of the HIE project since its inception in 2009. The project was made possible by an award of $13.8 million from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

“Our vision is to be the one-stop place where healthcare organizations – labs, hospitals, public health, regional health information organizations – can plug into [to share patient information],” said Mindy Mazur, MHC’s director of public affairs and communications, as quoted by the news source.

Data from the Missouri Health Information Technology Assistance Center indicates that 1,167 primary care physicians across the state have adopted some level of medical informatics technology. According to a report that was issued by the Missouri Hospitals Association, 30 percent of healthcare facilities in the state had introduced 13 or more clinical informatics functions, such as computerized physician order entry and e-prescribing, in 2009, compared to 44 percent in 2010.

Challenges faced by the HIE project leaders are the varying levels of medical informatics systems adopted by healthcare facilities across the state, in addition to ensuring that the enterprise adheres to both federal and state guidelines and policies.

“The key to our working through these types of issues is stakeholder involvement,” Mazur told the news provider. “They’ve really been frankly amazing – since they all have full-time jobs – in coming together and thinking through thoughtfully these different policies and how we can make them work in Missouri.”