May 2020
GaHIN Asked to Assist in Obtaining Information on COVID-19
The Governor’s Office (OPB) working with the Department of Community Health (DCH) has requested that GaHIN provide certain information as part of the State’s COVID-19 response and re-opening planning. It is likely that the information request will be on a continuing basis during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The data elements requested at this time include the following:
  • Admits, Discharges, Transfers (ADT)
  • Death Reporting
  • Electronic Lab Reports (ELR)
  • Emergency Management (EMS)
On April 2nd, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced, effective immediately, that it will exercise its enforcement discretion and will not impose penalties for violations of certain provisions of the HIPAA Privacy Rule against healthcare providers or their business associates for the good faith uses and disclosures of PHI by business associates for public health and health oversight activities during the COVID-19 public health emergency. 
In accordance with the OCR notice and given that the disclosure would be in connection with public health or health oversight activities, GaHIN intends to comply in good faith with the request from the Governor’s Office and DCH. We have been working closely with DCH, the Department of Public Health and our technology provider, IBM, on this project.
What Does the Future Hold for Healthcare and HIEs?
Our rapidly changing healthcare industry offers numerous challenges - and opportunities - around interoperability and connectivity. Dr. Gary Ozanich, a senior consultant for HealthTech Solutions, joined GaHIN and DCH for the May webinar and detailed how recent regulatory changes are advancing interoperability.

Gary has been working with GaHIN on its strategic plan and technology search, and is a nationally known expert in healthcare IT, particularly as it applies to HIEs.

He pointed out that despite years of work on data integration, it continues to be a problem across all components of the healthcare community, as the chart below shows (Source: ONC Data Briefs).
Dr. Denise Hines, Executive Director of GaHIN, also joined the webinar to discuss GaHIN's new COVID-19 data initiative with the Department of Community Health and the Department of Public Health (article above).

The webinar is available on demand. Filling out the webinar registration form on the DCH website will give you instant access to the 30-minute recording.

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