Updates from the PAC: Digital Edge IT Assessments and Next Steps for Partners

At our March 8, 2017 Project Advisory Committee (PAC) meeting, our partners offered feedback and follow-up questions on a number of resources and ongoing initiatives that we have introduced to further develop our integrated delivery system (IDS). Specifically, our partners suggested:

Over the coming weeks, we will discuss each of the topics in depth, and also continue to provide updates on our monthly OneCity Health Partner Webinars. Our webinars are also a forum for additional questions and answers with our partners.

Below please find an update on OneCity Health’s support to partners for achieving electronic connectivity, including an infographic explaining the benefits of connecting to a Regional Health Information Organization (RHIO), IT assessments conducted by our IT technical assistance vendor Digital Edge, and next steps for partners.

RHIO Connectivity, IT Assessments and Next Steps

RHIO and Benefits to Partners
To further develop our IDS, OneCity Health will facilitate connectivity of our partners with a RHIO this year to ensure that all of a patient’s providers can securely access his or her data and share information.

Please note that it is also a Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program requirement for partners to connect to a RHIO. However, if a partner does NOT provide clinical services (e.g., social services only) or does NOT have an Electronic Medical Record (EMR), they are not required to connect to a RHIO. For these partners, OneCity Health is currently procuring a web-based “EMR-like” solution as an alternative option for connection to a RHIO.

To learn more about a RHIO and how it will benefit both our partners and patients, please view our infographic below. It is also available for download here.

Digital Edge IT Assessments
Throughout 2016, Digital Edge, a OneCity Health IT technical assistance vendor, conducted assessments of our partners’ IT capabilities to help us understand the steps we need to take to electronically connect our partners to a RHIO and securely share patient information across our integrated delivery system. Thank you to our partners who worked with Digital Edge; we now have an overview of the current state of our network’s electronic connectivity and are able to move forward with supporting partners in this regard. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Digital Edge reached out to all partners who have signed a Master Services Agreement (MSA) with OneCity Health, and were able to coordinate an assessment with 153 partners. Of this subset:
    • 133 partners have an Electronic Medical Record (EMR)
    • 36 partners are connected to a RHIO

We have stopped conducting IT assessments, and are now moving forward with supporting all of our partners by initiating or strengthening their electronic connectivity.

Next Steps for Partners
Earlier this year, we conducted a successful pilot with one of our partners to connect their EMR to a RHIO. Next, we will start to connect EMRs to a RHIO for a large wave of partners. To start this process, Digital Edge is again conducting outreach, beginning with an email and following up with a phone call, to OneCity Health partners (including those that did not complete the IT assessment) to schedule an introductory meeting to discuss the connection process. Digital Edge will work directly with partners to enable their connection to a RHIO, and will soon reach out all partners.

If OneCity Health partners would like to request to be in this first wave, they should respond to the initial email from Digital Edge right away or reach out to the OneCity Health support desk. Due to space constraints, these requests will be handled on a first come first served basis.

What will be Required of Partners During the RHIO Connection Process?
Connecting to a RHIO is FREE for OneCity Health partners. This means we will help partners establish a site to site VPN connection with the RHIO, and do a test of data exchange at no cost to partners. However, OneCity Health will not compensate a partner’s current IT vendor that may need to facilitate additional connections to another RHIO(s).

Partners are requested to identify an IT contact who can collaborate with Digital Edge throughout the RHIO connection process, which should take about 3-4 weeks.