SUBSCRIBE                                                                                                              Q1 2015
Upcoming Events

March 23-24, 2015

2015 State Healthcare IT Connect Summit

Dr. Denise Hines speaking
Baltimore, MD

April 12-16, 2015

HIMSS15 Annual Conference and Exhibition
Chicago, IL

GaHC Gives Providers More HIE OptionsGaHC
As the newest regional health information exchange in the state, Georgia Health Connect (GaHC) gives healthcare providers and hospitals more options for secure electronic patient data exchange and a lower cost connection to GaHIN.

Founded last year by the   Georgia Health Information Extension Center (GA-HITEC), GaHC is focused on easy-to-integrate technology solutions, including HIE services to healthcare providers typically operating in rural and underserved areas. With GaHC, providers in smaller practices can achieve technology equality with their larger counterparts.

  Read more 

Five Reasons It Makes Cents to Join an HIECents

In today's challenging healthcare environment where every dollar counts, Georgia providers have to be savvy consumers when making investments in technology. Following are five financial reasons your healthcare organization should join an HIE in 2015.
  1. Reduce Medicare penalties for 30-day hospital readmissions by improving discharge planning and post-acute care follow-up.
  2. Increase provider Medicare reimbursements with new codes for care management and follow-ups.
  3. Achieve savings in patient costs and provider time.
  4. Qualify for Medicaid EHR incentive payments by meeting Meaningful Use Stages 1 and 2.
  5. Reduce the administrative burden of faxes and phone calls to send and receive patient health records.
Get the details on how you can leverage an HIE to save money and increase payments.

Letter from the Executive DirectorLetter


It's that time of the year when we reflect on our successes and our challenges, and anticipate what the new year will bring. Looking back over the past 12 months, it's clear that 2014 was a great year for Georgia's statewide Health Information Network.

Three of the largest health systems in the Southeast, Emory Healthcare, Grady Health System, and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, established a connection to GaHIN. Also in 2014:

  • All five regional Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) in Georgia executed agreements with GaHIN. 
  • GaHIN created a connection to the Nationwide Network and established the nation's first state-to-state HIE connection with South Carolina.
  • GAHIN also became a member of DirectTrust, enabling our GeorgiaDirect users to exchange secure messages nationally.
While it was a great year, there is still more to do to link healthcare providers to timely, relevant patient information. In addition to completing connections with Georgia HIEs, GaHIN is implementing connectivity with the Georgia Partnership for TeleHealth, the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities and East Tennessee HIE.
Also in 2015, we are focused on adding providers as well as long-term care and home health agencies to GeorgiaDirect, and anticipate adoption by an additional 1,000 providers statewide. Through Georgia ConnectedCare, we are adding health systems and federal agencies to the Network. And we will continue developing new value-added products and services.
Many thanks to stakeholders from across Georgia for their continuing support of GaHIN. We are excited about the future of health information exchange and health IT in Georgia and we look forward to a continuing collaboration with the healthcare community to build better connections to support delivery of better care.
Best regards,
Dr. Denise Hines, PMP, FHIMSS
Executive Director, GaHIN

GaHIN Launches Online Provider DirectoryDirectory

GaHIN just made it easier to locate providers and members participating in GeorgiaDirect. Located in the Resources section of the GaHIN website, the Provider Directory contains an easy-to-use search function that lets users quickly and easily locate providers and obtain information including organization name, provider name, secure email, phone and address. Features include:
  • Copy email address from within the database
  • Locate providers using the Google map functionality
  • Discern which providers have achieved trusted status by their checkmark designation
  • Search by any information in the database - city, provider, organization
The Provider Directory is just one more way GaHIN is facilitating the secure exchange of patient information, allowing providers to access the patient information they need at the point of care to improve the health of all Georgians.

National Mandates to Spur HIE AdoptionMandates
The last week of January 2015 saw a flurry of national announcements centered on interoperability, health information exchange and performance-based reimbursement. Powering these new initiatives and care models is the efficient, secure exchange of health information.

On Monday, 1/23, HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell announced that by 2016 the CMS wants 30% of Medicare payments to be linked to payment reform models, and 50% by 2018. The new targets for payment reform are expected to accelerate federal use of accountable care and bundled payments, replacing volume-based billing with value-based care.

Two days later, a coalition of providers, insurers and employers   pledged to have 75% of their members' business switched to performance-based contracts with incentives for health outcomes, quality and cost management by 2020.
And on Friday, 1/27, the federal health information technology coordinator released a wide-ranging report on how to improve interoperability in electronic health-record systems. The report, "Connecting Health and Care for the Nation, A Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap," (PDF) calls for most providers to be able to use their systems to send, receive and use "a common set of electronic clinical information ... at the nationwide level by the end of 2017."
The ability of HIES, such as GaHIN, to facilitate care coordination and exchange patient information among hospitals, physicians and other providers will not only support these new mandates, it will also encourage adoption and use of HIEs.

GaHIN, GaHC Present at National ONC MeetingONC

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) held its 2015 Annual Meeting February 2-3, 2015, in Washington, D.C. The meeting gathered over 1,000 health IT partners for two days of plenaries and breakout sessions.

Dr. Denise Hines, executive director of GaHIN, and Dr. Dominic Mack, Co-Director, NCPC at Morehouse School of Medicine, conducted a session titled, " Health Information Exchange in Rural and Underserved Communities."

The session examined the adoption of EHR systems among various segments of providers to understand the inequities in EHR adoption rates and the impact that national health IT initiatives may have on healthcare disparities. The well-accepted predicate that health IT successfully and thoughtfully integrated into clinical workflow has the potential to improve the quality and safety of care was discussed in the context of minority and underserved communities.