April 2021
ONC Information Blocking Rule Now in Effect
On April 5, 2021, the new information blocking rule from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) went into effect. The rule is part of the 21st Century Cures Act, which was designed to give patients greater control of their healthcare.

According to the ONC website, “For the American public as a whole, the final rule promotes innovation in the healthcare technology ecosystem to deliver better information, more conveniently, to patients and clinicians. It also promotes transparency, using modern computers, smartphones, and software, to provide opportunities for the American public to regain visibility in the services, quality, and costs of healthcare.”

About Information Blocking
The ONC defines information blocking as: “a practice by a health IT developer of certified health IT, health information network, health information exchange, or healthcare provider that ... is likely to interfere with access, exchange, or use of electronic health information (EHI).”

Who is covered by the information blocking rule?
  • Healthcare providers
  • Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) and Health Information Networks (HINs)
  • Health IT Developers of Certified Health IT

GaHIN continues to seek ways to support its members affected by federal regulations, facilitating interoperability while adhering to strict HIPAA standards.

Learn more:
Webinar: The Emergence of Telehealth - 4/28/21
Telehealth had been gradually emerging as an important component in healthcare until COVID-19 struck. On Wednesday, April 28, Suleima Salgado, MBA, Director of Telehealth, Telemedicine, Rural Health Initiatives, and Project ECHO of the Department of Public Health (DPH), will talk about telehealth in Georgia before, during and after COVID-19.

In the first two months of 2020 (pre-COVID-19), DPH logged 3,573 meeting minutes on WebEx. From March – May 2020, that number soared to more than 1+ million minutes. Salgado will talk about the huge challenge of accelerating the use of telehealth to expand access to care in rural and underserved settings. Joining Salgado will be Valdosta CMS Nurse Sandee Simmons, who will explain how she has used telemedicine to see patients during the pandemic.
April Update on New Tech 21 Project
The teams from GaHIN and Velatura are continuing to meet with IBM Watson and GaHIN members during April to complete the Discovery phase. The goal is to have meetings completed with every GaHIN member by the close of April.

During these meetings, each member’s connection configuration and use of the clinical viewer is examined, with discussions also including future opportunities for leveraging the connectivity and interoperability provided by GaHIN.

These activities are creating a foundation for the next phase of the implementation. The implementation process has been divided into four cycles:
Cycle I - Project Initiation, Discovery and Planning
Cycle II - Initial Implementation Activities
Cycle III - Data Migration and Conversion
Cycle IV - Member Cut Over
A New Role for GaHIN’s Shirelle King
As GaHIN’s new Member Relations and Onboarding Manager, Shirelle King is charged with scheduling each Member's project kick-off call with Velatura. She is also serving as the main point of contact throughout the project for questions or additional information.

Shirelle joined GaHIN in 2018, although she was already familiar with the organization after working for two years with the Department of Community Health. She brings infectious enthusiasm, strong communications skills and commitment to service to her new role.

"I'm in the process of talking with every member, one-on-one, to learn about their individual challenges and upcoming activities," Shirelle says. "I've been receiving a lot of positive feedback and anticipation about new capabilities offered by this technology. Our members are excited about the potential to improve their workflow and productivity."

You can reach Shirelle at sking@gahin.org.

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