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CT Health Information Exchange Adds First Integrated Delivery System

CTHealthLink added Connecticut Children’s and the Connecticut Children’s Care Network to its expanding list of provider connections.

CTHealthLink (CTHL), a physician-led health information exchange (HIE) established in partnership with the Connecticut State Medical Society (CSMS), added its first integrated delivery system to its network, Connecticut Children’s and the Connecticut Children’s Care Network (Care Network).

“We are pleased that Connecticut Children’s and its Care Network are dedicated and committed to a more comprehensive way of sharing patient information,” Richelle deMayo, chief medical information officer at Connecticut Children’s, said in a statement.

The three-year-old HIE enables clinicians, hospitals, and other healthcare providers in the HIE network to exchange patient health records, utilize data analytics tools to improve patient outcomes, and streamline clinical processes. It also grants patients access to their respective health records, CTHL said.

“Being part of CT HealthLink and having access to this type of patient data will allow us to save lives by preventing suicide which is the second leading cause of death in children and young adults starting at 10 years old,” said Steve Rogers, MD, medical director of Emergency Behavioral Health Services.

“Children receiving care in our network often have complex medical needs that require them to see a number of different providers. CTHealthLink will help us to connect information across different providers and EMR systems to improve the care we deliver to our patients,” Rogers continued.  

Connecticut Children’s leaders explained that Connecticut’s current mental health crisis was a critical reason to connect to the HIE.

The health system has one of the state’s lone behavioral health units. However, Connecticut Children’s clinicians and patients currently experience difficulty with patient data access and exchange.

“Patients at risk of suicide are seeing their healthcare providers, but their risk is often unrecognized due to the fragmentation of health information throughout the system,” said Rob Aseltine PhD, CTHealthLink Board Chair.  “We see access to the integrated data and analytics provided by systems like CTHealthLink as a critical tool in helping pediatricians identify and intervene with children at risk of suicide.”

Connecticut Children’s and Care Network join Yale-New Haven Health, UConn Health, CVS Health and Minute Clinics, the Veterans Administration (VA), DaVita Health, the Department of Defense (DoD), Fresenius Medical Care, and Premise Health on CTHealthLink’s list of connections.

This connection also allows the healthcare organizations to have full access to the state’s public health registries.

These additions, plus Connecticut’s 26 independent pediatrician practices, aim to improve patient data exchange and interoperability across the state, triggering a more effective response to certain health emergencies, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

Clinicians in the Care Network can leverage the HIE to ensure that children with special healthcare needs will receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Connecticut’s immunization registry tracks all COVID-19 vaccinations.

“Children with complex medical conditions are especially at risk for coronavirus infection,” said David Krol, MD, medical director of CT Children’s Care Network.

Additionally, the HIE is connected to the Carequality interoperability network and is a KONZA National Network member, enabling patient data exchange from across the country.

“Health information exchanges have untapped potential and broad reaching benefit for healthcare.  In partnership with CTHealthLink, we have an opportunity to further the quadruple aim in enhancing the patient experience, improving population health outcomes, reduce costs, and enhance the clinician experience across Connecticut, supporting our trajectory towards value-based care,” said Jung Park, Chief Information Officer for Connecticut Children’s. 

“Implementing this critical infrastructure begins a virtuous cycle, helping to enable future care innovation and accelerating research aims. I’m excited by the prospects and synergies that CTHealthLink will enable,” Park concluded.

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