Healthcare Business News

Military providers join Colorado health information exchange

By Joseph Conn
Posted: March 27, 2014 - 11:45 am ET

Healthcare providers in the Defense Department's Military Health System in Colorado are joining that state's civilian-sponsored health information exchange, the Colorado Regional Health Information Organization, the Defense Health Agency has announced.

The new health information exchange participants are Evans Army Community Hospital, Fort Carson, and the medical clinics at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Peterson Air Force Base and Schriever Air Force Base, all in Colorado Springs.

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“This partnership will improve care quality and coordination while reducing costs in the Tricare provider network,” said Col. Timothy Ballard, the Colorado Springs Military Health System's director, in a news release. “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,” Ballard said.

The first phase of the exchange project will enable military clinicians to access the records of patients covered by military benefits if they receive care from civilian providers that are also CORHIO participants.

“We send many pediatric and adult long-term, complicated-care patients to Denver hospitals,” said Col. Dennis LeMaster, commander of the U.S. Army Medical Department Activity-Fort Carson and Evans Army Community Hospital. “Having visibility of those records will help case management and primary-care manager teams increase the awareness of medical care provided to our beneficiaries, and the quality of follow-up and future care.”

Eventually, civilian providers will have access to military beneficiaries' health records, including demographic information; lab and pathology results; radiological and transcribed reports; medical and medication histories; immunizations; and past hospitalizations.

CORHIO received more than $10.8 million in federal funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to set up a statewide health information exchange program in Colorado.

Last month, CORHIO joined with 15 other statewide and regional exchanges to form the Mid-States Consortium of Health Information Organizations with a goal of achieving interoperability between their respective regions.

The Defense Health Agency was created by the Defense Department effective Oct. 1, 2013, to take over leadership of the Military Health System as well as assume the duties of the Tricare Management Activity, the military's health benefits oversight agency.

Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn

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