Southwest Colorado Providers Adopting Health Information Exchange at Record Pace

Date: February 13th, 2013Category: CORHIO e-NewsletterTopics: HIE, CORHIO Network

Mercy Regional Medical Center partners with community providers to bring better care coordination to southwest Colorado

The Colorado side of the “Four Corners” area is a unique place to be a health care provider. It’s a primarily rural, tight-knit community with a focus on high-quality health care. Many specialists seek to practice in the area because they’re drawn to its beauty and lifestyle. The community has a strong commitment to patient care – and that’s evident by the recent influx of hospitals and providers in Durango, Pagosa Springs and Cortez that are signing up to participate in the CORHIO health information exchange (HIE).

Mercy Regional Medical Center in Durango was awarded a federal grant, which provided capital support for providers to connect their systems to a health information exchange. The grant also includes funds for primary care practices to purchase electronic health systems (EHR), as long as a connection to the HIE is involved.

Mercy is a Centura Health facility and has been connected to CORHIO since May 2012. Once more facilities in the area are connected, it will truly be a community-wide adoption of health information technology and exchange.

“In a small, rural community like ours, good news travels fast,” said Neil Stock, Director, Mercy Regional Medical Center. “Our providers were initially a little skeptical as to the benefits of CORHIO to their practices, but the promise of better patient care, combined with the federal grant to defray capital costs, has encouraged what we hope will be the one of the highest participation levels in Colorado. This widespread participation in a health information exchange holds the promise of working together even more effectively with our provider partners – all in the interest of better patient care.”

Additional Area Hospitals to Connect

In addition to the already connected Mercy, three other area hospitals are in the process of connecting with CORHIO. Southwest Health System in Cortez is a 25-bed critical access hospital offering emergency care, surgery, rehabilitation and a variety of general medical services. Pagosa Springs Medical Center is a 12-bed critical access hospital with a primary care clinic, emergency room, skilled nursing services and other services. Animas Surgical Hospital, an 11-bed surgical facility in Durango, is considering joining after they implement a new EHR.

Wide Variety of Practices Are Joining HIE Network

To date, 28 practices in Durango have signed agreements with CORHIO, including those specializing in family medicine, behavioral health, OB/GYN, physical therapy, allergy/asthma, plastic surgery, neurology, urology, cardiology and orthopedics. In the Cortez area, eight practices have signed agreements, including behavioral health, family practice and physical therapy. Four practices in Pagosa Springs are on board, including a women’s health center, an internal medicine solo practitioner and a behavioral health center.

Durango Urgent Care is one of the facilities slated to connect to the health information exchange. This is an important milestone for CORHIO, as they are the first urgent care facility to sign an implementation agreement to join the network.

For a full list of providers, visit Participating Providers on the CORHIO site and zoom in on the southwest part of the state map.

“I am looking forward to using the CORHIO health information exchange to enhance coordination of care for my patients,” said Karen Zink, CNP, MS, Owner, Southwest Women’s Health Associates. “As a primary care provider, I see this tool as potentially improving the quality and efficiency of patient care as well as streamlining communication among health care providers.”