How Colorado’s County Jails Harness the Power of HIE

June 23rd, 2021 | Published Under HIE Participants by Bob Mook

One local jail estimates a five-figure savings due to elimination of faxing

Health information exchange (HIE) has long provided essential, real-time data for healthcare professionals and providers, but many outside of the sector are discovering the benefits as well.

Case in point: A growing number of detention centers and prisons use HIE to easily access health information on inmates, while realizing many other efficiencies.

One Example: Broomfield Police Department
During a panel discussion at CORHIO’s virtual 10th Anniversary Celebration earlier this year, Shawn Laughlin, Support Services Commander of the Broomfield Police Department, told how CORHIO’s PatientCare 360® saved his department time and money while meeting inmates’ health needs. He also gave a testimonial in this blog posting.

Laughlin says that PatientCare 360 lets qualified staff from the detention center review an inmate’s health and chronic diseases before a medical check -- allowing nursing staff to reduce hours waiting to verify such information through a fax machine. He estimates that the use of HIE has reduced costs at the jail by $41,000. Furthermore, jails could use HIE to look up primary care providers and to help coordinate care after the inmate is discharged from the facility.

“From a liability perspective, the biggest concern is medication management,” Laughlin recently told CORHIO. “Whether it’s allergies or medical assessment protocols, the ability to access the facts saves an enormous amount of time – particularly if you are talking about blood pressure medications, diabetes, psychotropic drugs and things of that nature. Time is of the essence in these situations. You can use HIE to decide on the foundational knowledge to decide on your protocols, or you can decide in the dark.”

Other Correctional Institutions Use HIE
In 2017, Colorado lawmakers passed a bill that led to advances in improving medication solutions in county and municipal jails through a partnership with HIE. The Colorado Department of Human Services Office of Behavioral Health tapped into state funding to engage with CORHIO and Quality Health Network in a pilot project to improve data sharing in a handful of municipal and county jails. 

Jails online with CORHIO include the Adams County Sheriff’s Department, Arapahoe County Jail, Boulder County Jail, Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office, Denver County Jail, Eagle County Jail, El Paso County Jail, Elbert County Jail, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Las Animas County Sheriff’s Department., Logan County Sheriff’s Office, Summit County Jail and Weld County Jail.  

Over the past two years, CORHIO has gained attention as a thought leader in using HIE for criminal justice. On Aug. 10, during the HIMSS Conference in Las Vegas, CORHIO CEO Morgan Honea will join Danielle Culp, Health IT Exchange Coordinator for Colorado’s Office of Behavioral Health to discuss how enhanced data sharing within the criminal justice system improves efficiencies and the health outcomes of inmates. Learn more about the session here.

Also last month, the Colorado Department of Corrections began contributing Clinical Care Documents (CCDs) to the CORHIO platform from 25 facilities statewide. This agreement is one of many efforts that will build a robust data system to gain more clarity of the criminal justice population.