Summit County Continues to Expand Use of HIE

Date: July 11th, 2012Category: CORHIO e-NewsletterTopics: HIE, CORHIO Network

Summit County is Approaching More Than 50 Percent Participation for HIE

Well known for its impressive peaks and world-class skiing, Summit County is now moving into the forefront for an entirely different reason – leading-edge patient care facilitated by health information technology. The health care providers in the mountain towns of Summit County—including Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Dillon, Frisco, Keystone and Silverthorne—are on the verge of surpassing a level of 50 percent community participation in health information exchange (HIE). St. Anthony’s Summit Medical Center and High Country Health Care are currently sharing medical information electronically through CORHIO’s HIE. The region’s safety-net provider, Summit Community Care Clinic, is on the verge of its HIE connection, and the region’s mental health center, Colorado West, expects to go live on the HIE later this year.

Secure, real-time patient data exchange is especially important in smaller, rural or remote communities, which lack the breadth of specialists available in larger cities. “We frequently send patients to the Front Range for specialty care,” said Paul Chodkowski, CEO of St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, a 35-bed Centura Health facility in Frisco. “In the last month, my wife traveled to Denver three times for a major surgical procedure. Through HIE, my wife’s medical record is readily accessible by her primary care physician here in Summit County, as well as her specialists in the Front Range.”

Enhancing Patient Safety and Efficiency in Summit County

Summit Community Care Clinic is a nonprofit safety-net clinic for uninsured, underinsured, and income-eligible workers and residents of Summit County. The Clinic has four physicians on-staff and serves 5,000 patients each year.

“As a result of interconnectivity, HIE will allow us to increase patient safety and accuracy. The more information our providers have at their fingertips, the better decisions they can make about patient care,” said Summit Community Care Clinic Executive Director Sarah Vaine. “CORHIO has been wonderful to work with and have been responsive to the specific needs of our community. I’ve really appreciated how vested they are in the outcome of our project.”

Vaine also noted additional benefits of HIE, including increasing efficiency of their staff. Instead of lab results being faxed over, reviewed and manually scanned into the system, the results will go directly into the health record. The streamlined process will eliminate human error, as well as decrease the amount of time processing test results.

High Country Healthcare was one of the first primary care practices in the state to go live on the HIE. Rhonda Koehn, CEO of High Country Healthcare explained, “It was a smooth process connecting to CORHIO and we receive great support from them, as well. Health information exchange helps to automate our processes and takes man hours out of clerical work and puts it into time spent with patients.”

The practice has approximately 60,000 patient visits each year with clinic locations in Breckenridge, Frisco and Silverthorne. “Having access to the complete medical record helps to better coordinate care and avoid duplicative testing saving costs for our practice, as well as our patients. Ultimately, HIE helps us to care for our patients in an effective way.”

Collaboration in Summit County is a Top Priority

Colorado West Regional Mental Health, which has clinics in 10 counties, is currently connected to Quality Health Network’s HIE in Western Colorado. Later this summer, Colorado West’s clinics will be connected to the CORHIO HIE through the PatientCare 360® Portal.

“Summit County is a community that has always been very collaborative. Many of our health care organizations are in the same office building, so we pass by our colleagues every day,” said Kathy Davis, program director at Colorado West Regional Mental Health. “Connecting through HIE is just taking our collaboration to the next level. With this type of consistent and efficient patient information exchange, Summit County residents will know that their health information is up-to-date and communicated in a way that is helpful to them.”