July 2022
Dr. Jeffeory White, Long-Time Digital Health Advocate
Jeffeory White, M.D., was recently named the Board Chair for GaHIN. The following article offers insights into his approach and long-term commitment to digital health.

Dr. Jeffeory White has sought to leverage health information technology for decades. In fact, he was the first provider in Georgia to receive an incentive payment from the Georgia Department of Community Health for implementing an EHR.

Dr. White has been trying to automate and streamline his medical practice since its inception. It began with an electronic billing system, then he added scheduling. When he implemented an EMR in 1995, that made his third system, with others for billing and ledger, plus scheduling. In 1998, he adopted an EHR that integrated billing, scheduling and computerized medical records.

So where is he today? “Frustrated,” he sighs.

Technology’s Role in Improving Communication
Dr. White has clear ideas about the role of technology and interoperability in healthcare. “Technology should make it easier for providers to provide excellent, top-notch care while increasing safety and efficacy. That’s big component of interoperability,” he says. “In particular, HIEs are an important vehicle we have used in my practice to improve care.”
In Dr. White’s view, a key component of improving care is to make it easier to transmit information. “There continue to be barriers to communicating among medical providers and other community service providers. They keep putting up barriers and more barriers and it just doesn’t make sense. It frustrates me to no end,” he says.

“I am so envious of banking system,” he says. “Obviously medical information is way more complex. But what the financial industry has put together allows you to go to any ATM to get money and information about your account, regardless of whether it’s your bank or not. Healthcare still has a lot to accomplish regarding how we move around consistent, confidential data. We have a long way to go to make sure the proper data is transferred, and it has to be accurate.”

Integrating SDOH Data Still Difficult
The recent attention on social determinants of health (SDOH) has pointed out the lack of standardization within healthcare technology, says Dr. White. “You can’t communicate data with someone else who doesn’t collect it or know where to put it.”

SDOH can play a critical role in delivering care and improving outcomes. Dr. White cites an example of prescribing a home breathing machine to a patient, only to discover that the family didn’t have electricity in the house.

“Where our patients live and what they do has more impact on their health than we give credit for,” he says. “It’s always been a facet of our practice.”

Supporting Best Practices in Digital Health
Dr. White has been an active supporter of Georgia’s Pediatric Healthcare Improvement Coalition (PHIC). Comprised of five children’s hospitals, PHIC is dedicated to improving the quality of pediatric care across the state. Dr. White has participated in testing to determine whether hospital information is accessible and applicable for pediatricians to use.

During the past several months he has provided a provider perspective during presentations on SDOH and health equity to the Health Information Technology Advisory Committee (HITAC) as well as the ONC STAR HIE health equity committee.

“Every aspect of medicine should be about enhancing and improving the safety, quality and experience for patients.”
Dr. Denise Hines to Speak at National HIE Meeting

Dr. Denise Hines, Executive Director of GaHIN, will be among the speakers at the Civitas Networks for Health 2022 Annual Conference being held August 21-24 in San Antonio. She and other ONC STAR HIE grant recipients will discuss, "Federal Programs Catalyzing Health Equity Initiatives."

Civitas Networks for Health is a mission- and member-driven organization dedicated to using health information exchange, health data and multi-stakeholder, cross-sector approaches to improve health. It was formed in October 2021 with the affiliation of the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC) and the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI).
If you would like to view the current go-live status of GaHIN members on GeorgiaConnX, you can check the GaHIN Member Portal.

Copyright 2022 Georgia Health Information Network (GaHIN). All Rights Reserved.