Last year, GaHIN was one of five HIEs selected to participate in the STAR HIE grant by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). The purpose of the $500,000 award is to provide further support for the Georgia Departments of Public Health (DPH) and Community Health (DCH) in accessing, sharing and using electronic health information, especially data from populations underserved and/or disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the organizations targeted for improved connections are:
- Georgia clinical facilities of the Veterans Administration
- State correctional facilities
- Hospitals that are not currently sending COVID-19 test results through GaHIN
In the past year, GaHIN has contacted 31 hospitals, completed four connections (to date) and referred 24 hospitals to a regional HIE for follow-up.
Working in partnership with HI-BRIDGE HIE, 13 correctional institutions are now connected, up from four at the beginning of 2021. HI-BRIDGE HIE is currently contacting additional facilities.
Administrative Initiatives and Successes
GaHIN has assumed a leadership role in the ONC's Health Equity Workgroup as part of the STAR HIE program. The organization also completed and passed the Semi-Annual
Risk Assessment and recently submitted a draft for the required sustainability plan.
In addition, GaHIN is exploring additional funding opportunities with the ONC around vaccine distribution and management.
"Through the ONC STAR HIE grant, GaHIN is able to target and reach out to underserved populations that can benefit from better connections among providers," explains Denise Hines, Executive Director of GaHIN. "Federal grants have been instrumental in allowing GaHIN to provide health systems with interoperability services at no cost, leading to better health for all Georgians."