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Pushing the Boundaries of Interoperability

by Mark Maida, Senior Associate, Healthcare Transactions

Lewes, Del., is a busy coastal city whose population consists of year-round residents, inclusive of a thriving retiree community with snowbirds (folks who migrate to warmer climates during the winter), and tourists (summertime beach goers). Two years ago, Lewes local, Beebe Medical Group (BMG), presented athenahealth’s interoperability team with a major problem. Providers were having difficulty finding the relevant care story for patients during encounters, especially with its transient snowbird and tourist populations. There was a heavy reliance on the patient’s memory, fax requests, and the local HIE (DHIN) to learn about the patient’s history, and BMG needed an easy, reliable, and universal solution to improve patient care.

BMG is a part of a larger health system, Beebe Healthcare. While BMG manages its ambulatory practices utilizing athenahealth, there’s an additional piece to this puzzle—Beebe’s medical center, also owned by Beebe Healthcare, who utilizes Cerner to manage the inpatient facilities.

After listening to BMG’s story, we quickly realized that Patient Record Sharing was exactly what was needed. Recently my colleague Daniel Hallstrom and I visited BMG, where we had the privilege of witnessing the BMG team present how our partnership solved the patient information conundrum for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. Highlights from my recent visit below showcase how stellar interoperability integration is built around three key ideas: access, utility, and performance:

Access

BMG needed the right access, so providers could be connected to their patients’ entire network of data, regardless of where care was provided. Patient Record Sharing provided BMG clinicians on-demand access to patient information on Cerner sites via CommonWell, Epic sites via Carequality, as well as our more than 85,000 providers on the athenaNetwork. It also connected BMG to its desired local network in Delaware (Nanticoke, Beebe, and soon-to-be Bayhealth) and multi-state network across the United States. Thanks to this innovative patient record sharing model, BMG is able to see a diverse patient population—accessing each patient’s full story.

Utility

BMG providers were interested in patients’ clinical narrative (inclusive of the previous provider’s notes) as it offered valuable insight into the comprehensive care story. Patient Record Sharing facilitated the exchange of clinical documents containing patient narratives with other athenahealth sites, and partnered with Cerner to ensure similar content was made available from inpatient side.

Performance

Seamless patient record integration into athenahealth workflows offers BMG providers a streamlined experience, which enables providers to spend more time caring for the patient, maximizing physician engagement. Providers now have the right level of detail to quickly determine which documents are most relevant to the patient’s situation, optimizing clinical quality.

It’s evident BMG and athenahealth are pushing the boundaries of interoperability across the industry—and I’m thrilled to build on this amazing momentum in 2017.

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