Colorado Springs Military Health System Joins HIE

Date: April 16th, 2014Category: CORHIO e-NewsletterTopics: HIE, Military Health, CORHIO Network

Evans Army Community Hospital and medical clinics at U.S. Air Force Academy and Peterson and Schriever Air Force bases begin accessing patient health data via the CORHIO HIE.

The Colorado Springs Military Health System has recently joined the CORHIO health information exchange (HIE) and is entering the second phase of a two-phase implementation. The first phase allows qualified military health personnel to access HIE information in order to better coordinate care for military patients that have recently been seen by civilian providers. The second phase will allow the military health system to share patient information with civilian providers caring for military personnel.

The Colorado Springs Military Health System provides health care services to active duty and retired service members as well as their dependents. And although much of the care is delivered through facilities, physicians and clinical staff managed by the military health system, there are times when care needs or circumstances require an emergency room visit to a non-military hospital or a referral to specialists in the civilian community. When military patients access care outside of the military system, this has historically created challenges in coordinating care and sharing medical records. By participating in the CORHIO HIE, the Colorado Springs Military Health System will overcome this ongoing challenge and, as a result, improve care quality for military patients and their families.

The recently established Defense Health Agency’s Colorado Springs Military Health System is comprised of care facilities on Peterson Air Force Base, Schriever Air Force Base, Fort Carson Army Post and the U.S. Air Force Academy. The system includes Evans Army Community Hospital and seven medical clinics. TRICARE® is the health plan serving active duty military, retirees and their families, with approximately 172,000 beneficiaries in the Colorado Springs area and over one million patient visits per year. TRICARE contracts with civilian medical providers under the Preferred Provider Network.

Phased Approach to HIE Participation

The first phase of HIE participation for the Colorado Springs Military Health System includes access to patients’ health information via the PatientCare 360® secure Web portal. This is helping to decrease duplicative services such as repeat labs or imaging studies by providing real-time results from services provided outside of the military system. Staff time spent tracking down patient results is also reduced. As a second phase, Evans Army Community Hospital will share electronic patient health data with other hospitals and office-based providers around the state, such as demographic information, lab and pathology results, and radiology reports.

“This partnership will improve care quality and coordination while reducing costs in the TRICARE provider network,” says Col. Timothy D. Ballard, the Colorado Springs Military Health System’s director. “It will reduce redundant diagnostic exams and labs, eliminate barriers to care for community referrals, reduce the workload on records sections in tracking referral reports, and provides us near real-time visibility of beneficiaries using civilian facilities.”

“Patients referred to a CORHIO participating civilian provider or facility will have results in the HIE system without requiring a separate fax or follow-up phone call,” says Lt. Col. Francisco C. Dominicci, the CSMHS’s chief medical information officer. “Results should be available by the time patients return to their military healthcare providers.”

“The CORHIO partnership with Colorado Springs Military Health System represents our shared missions of providing the best possible care to those we serve,” says Mark Carlson, CORHIO senior manager of business strategy and development. “Removing the barrier of timely access to critical clinical information for providers in the Colorado Springs community and across the state is a significant step in support of this shared mission. To be able to serve our military service members and their families is great honor.”