Healthconnect announced today that Baylor College of Medicine has joined the regional health information exchange (HIE). Baylor’s entry is an important step in the integration of health information technologies that enable clinical faculty within an academic setting to enhance transitions of care by easily communicating with both referring physicians and patients. Baylor, which utilizes the Epic electronic health record (EHR) system, will utilize Healthconnect’s Direct Messaging services to securely communicate via HIPAA compliant email with patients regarding test results, referral information and follow-up care instructions.
The College’s Chief Medical Information Officer, Jeffrey Steinbauer, MD, stressed the importance of Baylor’s participation in the regional health information exchange, not only for improved patient follow-up but also as a new standard of care, “The Baylor faculty are committed to advancing standards of patient care utilizing all available and emerging technologies to accomplish that goal. The use of Direct Messaging to securely transmit clinical information to referring physicians and patients themselves represents just the tip of the iceberg with respect to the way we envision integrating health information technologies into our practice and instruction in the near future. We intend to prepare future generations of physicians who will emerge better able to practice medicine in an new era of smart information technology.”
Healthconnect was founded to serve as a neutral convener of patient records among the over 130 hospitals and 16,000 physicians practicing in Southeast Texas. As member organizations go live in the regional health information exchange, Healthconnect is creating a network of networks, connecting the information systems that each organization has built to integrate their own clinical care networks. Healthconnect’s community health record portal allows authorized physicians to query a lifelong patient record including information from past episodes of care, test results, diagnoses and procedures, irrespective of where that care was received. The number of records available for query grows daily and at press time, Healthconnect has connected 906,771 patient records through its federated model of health information exchange. Tim Tindle, Healthconnect board member and chief information officer at the Harris Health System, welcomed Baylor College of Medicine to the growing exchange, “We are very pleased that Baylor has joined the network. As a leading medical school, their contributions to the development of this network will be invaluable. Baylor faculty will DRAFT play an important role as we refine the way the network can best be leveraged to advance patient care and make clinical practice more efficient.”
Baylor employs over 2100 full-time faculty and is consistently ranked as one of the leading medical schools in the country, training approximately 3000 medical students, nurse anesthetists, physicians assistants, and residents and fellows each year. The integration of health IT into academic practice is expected to directly impact the attitudes and skills of clinicians emerging from their training.