St. Luke's University Health Network

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Connectivity to PA Health Information Exchange

St. Luke's Maintains its Thought-Leadership Position by Piloting Connectivity to PA's Health Information Exchange (HIE)

Bethlehem, PA (12/4/2013) – St. Luke's University Health Network's health information exchange (HIE) organization, eVantageHealth, has elected to partner with the PA eHealth Partnership Authority as a pilot in the authority's network of community shared services. Such partnerships are designed to connect HIEs such as eVantageHealth, health care providers and organizations statewide.

Over the next five months, the PA eHealth Partnership Authority, eVantageHealth, and Caradigm (St. Luke's HIE vendor) will be working to implement a governance structure and technology capabilities with plans to complete the pilot by the first-quarter of 2014.

The PA eHealth Partnership Authority is an independent state agency that is working to meet federal requirements for HIE in Pennsylvania. HIE is the electronic movement of health-related information among unaffiliated organizations, according to nationally recognized standards. Pennsylvania was awarded $17.1 million under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act to help establish a health information exchange. For more information, visit: www.paehealth.com.

Benefits to Patients

St. Luke's eVantageHealth organization believes the connectivity to the State's network will help to centralize patient demographic management, improve awareness of clinical data sharing, and unify consent management processes at disparate health care entities. Both the Authority and eVantageHealth utilize an opt-out format, allowing patients to determine how their clinical data is shared with providers.

St. Luke's vision when creating eVantageHealth has always been one of connecting to the community, according to Brandon Neiswender, Sr. Director of Health Information Exchange at St. Luke's University Health Network. “eVantageHealth is a Health Information Exchange whose primary objectives are increasing patient engagement, improving access to clinical data and enabling new communications tools that enhance the quality of care” said Neiswender. eVantageHealth currently has more than 40 member organizations that are committed to sharing healthcare data.

Over the past two years, eVantageHealth has been creating efficiencies for providers by eliminating paper results - and enabling digital results - into electronic medical records (EMR) technology, continued Neiswender. Additionally, eVantageHealth has enabled easy access to medical records from multiple settings, by offering a web application that can quickly find clinical records associated with a patient. Patients and providers alike can now find clinical data in seconds, not days, he added.

“I am excited about the progress we have made over the last 12 months,” Neiswender said. “I believe we have developed a platform that benefits patients and providers today and positions us to deliver new and exciting capabilities in the future.”

Improving Health Care Delivery

The Authority aims to improve health care delivery and outcomes by enabling the secure exchange of health information. Created in 2012, it took over the work of its predecessor, the PA eHealth Collaborative. The organization started by providing leadership and strategic direction for public and private, federally funded and state-funded investments in health information technology initiatives.

From the Authority's perspective, the electronic sharing of health information allows a patient's medical records to be accessible—in a secure and authorized manner—whenever and wherever needed for patient decision-making, according to Alix Goss, PA Health IT Coordinator. “This exchange of information improves both health care and patient safety by simplifying coordination between care providers. Additionally, the need for duplicate tests is eliminated, saving real dollars,” he said.

Integrating technology into today's healthcare world is a complex task calling for knowledgeable and insightful leaders to make improvements that enhance outcomes and quality for patients, while reducing healthcare costs, he added.

St. Luke's Playing Key Leadership Role

“St. Luke's is playing a key leadership role in the state's objectives to further enable the sharing of electronic health information in the commonwealth,” said Goss “Extending their active participation in the statewide effort by agreeing to be a pilot and connecting to the shared services network, eVantageHealth is helping to pave the way for other organizations to enhance the healthcare delivery system for patients,” Goss concluded.


Contact

Denise Rader
Director, Media Relations
St. Luke's University Health Network
484-526-4104
Denise.Rader@sluhn.org