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Georgia HIE Receives $1M USDA Grant to Improve Rural Healthcare Services

The Georgia Health Information Network is partnering with a regional HIE on a telehealth network to expand rural healthcare access.

Georgia’s state-designated health information exchange (HIE), the Georgia Health Information Network (GaHIN), has received a $1,000,000 grant from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to promote rural healthcare services.

The USDA Emergency Rural Development Community Facilities Grant program aims to improve rural healthcare by expanding and enhancing healthcare delivery to medically underserved communities.

GaHIN will partner with Jefferson Hospital, Emanuel Medical Center, Wills Memorial Hospital, Washington County Regional Medical, and HealtHIE Georgia, a regional HIE, to develop a rural telehealth network connecting providers to underserved and remote communities.

Jefferson Hospital will be the hub site for project activities, including outreach to other end-user sites.

GaHIN will use the USDA grant funds to upgrade its network system. The HIE has partnered with health IT vendor Ready Computing to advance health data exchange for care coordination across telehealth, primary care, acute care, behavioral health, and behavioral health.

“We have been impressed with the expertise and knowledge at Ready Computing and look forward to working with them on several high-priority projects,” said Denise Hines, DHA, PMP, FHIMSS, GaHIN executive director. “With their assistance, we can develop and support systems that help bring parity to areas deemed medically underserved and create a healthier Georgia for all of the state’s residents.”

Established in 2009, GaHIN supports health data exchange across regional HIEs, health systems, state government agencies, and physicians.

In 2022, GaHIN members securely accessed 14.1 million patient health documents. The HIE is connected to the national eHealth Exchange and is also a member of DirectTrust, allowing its members to exchange information nationally with other providers using the Direct standard.

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