OHS: State’s Health Information Exchange Reaches Major Milestone With Cthealthlink Sign On
OFFICE OF HEALTH STRATEGY: STATE’S HEALTH INFORMATION EXCHANGE REACHES MAJOR MILESTONE WITH CTHEALTHLINK SIGN ON
For IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 21, 2020
Hartford – The Office of Health Strategy (OHS) announced that Connecticut’s comprehensive health information exchange initiative (HIE) now has its first client, signaling the formal launch of the technologically advanced network designed to improve patient care, coordinate the state’s network of health facilities and services, and upgrade the state’s overall healthcare delivery system.
Office of Health Strategy Executive Director Vicki Veltri and Allan Hackney, Connecticut’s Health Information Technology Officer, today welcomed the Connecticut State Medical Society’s CTHealthLink to its new partnership with the Health Information Alliance (HIA). CTHealthLink and HIA will immediately begin making the technical connections necessary to send and receive electronic clinical care summary information.
State officials and their CTHealthLink counterparts noted the significance of the timing of this formal agreement as Connecticut works to slow the spread of the new coronavirus and mitigate its health effects.
OHS Executive Director Vicki Veltri said, “Good information is critical for good healthcare; the HIE will help providers get patient information quickly and that improves care, reduces redundant testing, and lowers costs. Individual and public health awareness is front page news – and Connecticut is now officially on the path that 45 other states have already traveled, with a more effective healthcare delivery model to show for it. The Connecticut State Medical Society’s CTHealthlink represents thousands of providers across the state and we welcome them to the HIE.”
CTHealthLink's early participation ensures that the physicians using their platform have access to the services of Connecticut’s HIE as it scales up statewide.
Connecticut Health Information Technology Officer Allan Hackney said, “CTHealthLink is the first of several participating organizations that will assist HIA and confirm system functionality for general use later this year. This necessary step will ensure that HIA's platform, services, and procedures are fully tested and functioning at expected levels of performance and is typical for deployments of new technologies.”
Interim Executive Director of the Connecticut State Medical Society Ken Ferrucci said, “We are very pleased to have CTHealthLink become one of the first health information exchange partners with the state of Connecticut. Connecticut’s physicians and medical practices are at the ready to provide services across the board, and the ability to share patient information in a confidential and secure manner will be a major benefit to patients, particularly during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Connecticut State Medical Society (CSMS) noted how valuable it is to ensure that health information moves with the patient. Limited health information at the point-of-care is an obstacle to better patient care, better outcomes, and a more efficient healthcare system overall. CSMS recognizes the HIA as an independent, neutral, and trusted organization that represents a cross section of stakeholders and provides timely, vitally important information while still prioritizing patients’ privacy.
The state’s HIE initiative results from a 2016 law. From its inception, the goal has been to realize wholesale benefits of a new data sharing system, including reduced healthcare costs, enhanced quality and delivery of services, improved public health reporting, and support for academic research and innovation, while prioritizing and ensuring patient privacy, security, and voluntary participation.
State Senator Mary Daugherty Abrams, Chair of the Public Health Committee, said, “Improving healthcare delivery for Connecticut residents should be a constant goal for health leaders and I’m ecstatic to see this platform up and running. It will reduce costs and improve efficiency, both of which are sorely needed. Especially amid the current COVID-19 crisis, this will undoubtedly improve healthcare across our state.”
Representative Jonathan Steinberg, Chair of the legislature’s Public Health Committee, said, “This pandemic underscores the critical importance of complete, timely, and accurate healthcare data. Connecticut will benefit from an enhanced ability to analyze essential clinical information and share insights across the system.”
State Representative William A. Petit Jr., M.D. said, “Our current pandemic reveals several issues in terms of health information. One of the most apparent issues being the need for caregivers to access critical pieces of information in a timely fashion while at the same time appropriately safeguarding patient’s privacy. We must move forward with this strategy but do so carefully to fulfill both these goals. We must maintain a focus to improve healthcare quality, while also avoiding repetition of testing and confusion that can increase costs.”