REDMOND, Wash. — June 24, 2008 — To improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivered to medically underserved D.C. residents, the District of Columbia Primary Care Association (DCPCA) will use Microsoft Amalga, the unified intelligence system, to enable the sharing of data among local hospitals and six community-based health centers that are part of a newly formed District of Columbia Regional Health Information Organization (D.C. RHIO).
DCPCA joins the Wisconsin Health Information Exchange (WHIE) as the second organization to select Microsoft Amalga to allow the security-enhanced exchange of information between hospital systems and community health centers for optimal patient care.
“The sharing of medical information among D.C. health centers and local hospitals is uncommon,” said Sharon Baskerville, CEO of DCPCA. “Using Amalga to aggregate and share clinical data, we will break down the barriers, enabling these providers to improve clinical decision-making, minimize redundant work, reduce costs, and most important, provide higher-quality care to the neediest in our communities. We expect to create a sustainable business model in the RHIO marketplace.”
Announced by DCPCA in May, the D.C. RHIO will connect six health centers — representing 21 locations — and two hospitals, Georgetown University Hospital and Washington Hospital Center, with the purpose of improving both the quality and accessibility of healthcare for vulnerable members of society. The six health centers are Bread for the City, Family and Medical Counseling Service, La Clínica del Pueblo, Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care, So Others Might Eat (SOME), and the Whitman-Walker Clinic.
Implementing Amalga will give physicians at Georgetown University Hospital and Washington Hospital Center real-time viewing of up-to-date patient information stored in systems of the RHIO-affiliated health centers. This capability will allow DCPCA to help achieve its overall goals for the RHIO, including improving chronic disease management, quality monitoring and research ability; minimizing duplicative work (e.g., lab tests); reducing costs; evaluating critical health indicators on an ongoing basis; and giving patients security-enhanced online access to their health information.
“I congratulate Microsoft on its participation in the D.C. RHIO,” said Dr. Garth Graham, deputy assistant secretary for Minority Health, Department of Health and Human Services. “Information technology in healthcare has the ability to transform our current health segments into a true healthcare system that serves the needs of all consumers and brings timely information to appropriate providers caring for consumers as patients. During this time, when we are just beginning to develop the interoperable networks, it is crucial that today’s medically underserved communities are included in these efforts.”
WHIE also has implemented Microsoft Amalga to accomplish its vision of “improving the quality, safety, efficiency, and accessibility of healthcare and public health.” WHIE’s Emergency Department (ED) Linking Project is a pilot project that has 11 Milwaukee metropolitan hospitals providing data to the exchange with clinicians in the first three emergency departments now reviewing data from the exchange on all patients as part of day-to-day clinical practice.
“With WHIE, ED clinicians have a perspective of their patients’ history previously unknown to them,” said Kim R. Pemble, executive director for WHIE.
Tools in WHIE, such as Clinician Communication Messages, enable communication among clinicians and set the stage for community-level, patient-centric care plans.
“Very early feedback from ED case managers already reflects significant value of WHIE in connecting patients with ongoing care services,” Pemble said. “The addition of Medicaid claims information, planned for July 2008, will provide pharmacy information and other data to further enhance the value to clinicians.”
Microsoft Amalga addresses a common and critical challenge of healthcare providers — integrating vast amounts of clinical, administrative, and financial information that flow in and out of disparate information systems, and tailoring that information for use by physicians, analysts, laboratory technicians, nurses and administrators. Amalga takes advantage of the hospital’s investment in health information technology solutions and makes it possible for the whole health system to gain quick access to data and turn information into critical knowledge that facilitates better decision-making and improved patient outcomes.
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