Minnesota and North Dakota Clinics and Hospitals Advance Use of Electronic Health Records
The Regional Extension Assistance Center for HIT (REACH) celebrated the success of clinics and small hospitals in Minnesota and North Dakota that have advanced their ability to use electronic health records (EHRs) to improve patient care, as the national regional extension center (REC) program and REACH concluded on April 7.
During its six years of service to improve care by implementing and using EHR systems, the REACH program worked with nearly 5,100 clinicians at 662 clinic locations, and assisted 121 critical access and rural hospitals to achieve Stage 1 meaningful use through the federal incentive payment program for health care providers. Stage 1 meaningful use focused on using the EHR to capture and share data.
REACH worked across the two states, primarily with small health care organizations and those providing care to the underserved, such as community health centers and rural care providers. These providers generally lagged behind in EHR adoption because of their size and resource limitations.
REACH far exceeded its goal to serve 3,600 clinicians:
•3,600 clinicians achieved Stage 1 meaningful use
•An additional 1,489 clinicians were supported in adopting and optimizing EHRs
•Nearly all (98%) of the 5,089 clinicians implemented certified EHRs, e-prescribing (e-RX), and quality reporting—critical stepping stones to using EHRs to improve care delivery through meaningful use
•Of the 62 RECs, REACH ranked seventh in the nation for the number of priority primary care providers it assisted to achieve Stage 1 meaningful use.


Clinicians – REACH Client Progress Chart
Of the 121 critical access and rural hospitals REACH assisted:
•114 (94%) achieved Stage 1 meaningful use
•Nearly all (98%) implemented certified EHRs, computerized physician order entry (CPOE), and quality reporting
•Nationally, REACH had the greatest number of hospitals achieve Stage 1 meaningful use.


Hospitals – REACH Client Progress Chart
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided funding in 2010 for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to establish 62 regional extension centers to assist primary care providers in the adoption and meaningful use of electronic health records. REACH served Minnesota and North Dakota. The program was a partnership of Stratis Health, National Rural Health Resource Center, and The College of St. Scholastica, which coordinated with Quality Health Associates of North Dakota Health and the University of North Dakota, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Center for Rural Health.
“REACH clients now have the technological capabilities and companion change management skills they can use to advance clinical processes and improve outcomes,” said Jennifer Lundblad, PhD, MBA, president and CEO, Stratis Health. “They are more prepared to participate in quality incentive payment programs as a result of the changes they’ve made to achieve meaningful use, and most importantly, to deliver high quality, safe, and cost effective care to their patients.”
For clinics, the meaningful use objectives of the Medicare EHR Incentive Program will roll into the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) in 2019, along with Physician Quality Reporting System and the Value Modifier Program.
REACH used a process consultation approach, focused on providing tools and building clinicians’ skills to make their own changes in an informed and sustainable way. The program focused on meaningful use as a way to improve health and health care, to reduce disparities and to engage patients and their families.
“We’re very impressed at what the clinics and small hospitals in North Dakota and Minnesota have accomplished in implementing EHRs, especially knowing that most operate with significant staffing constraints and with very limited financial margins at best,” said Barbara Groutt, MSA, CEO, Quality Health Associates of North Dakota.
The final REACH program report is available online at http://www.stratishealth.org/documents/REACH-final-report-2016.pdf.

Stratis Health is an independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1971 that leads collaboration and innovation in health care quality and safety, and serves as a trusted expert in facilitating improvement for people and communities. Stratis Health represents Minnesota in the Lake Superior Quality Innovation Network serving Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, under the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Quality Improvement Organization Program. www.stratishealth.org

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The North Dakota Chapter of HIMSS invites you to join the ND HIMSS Spring 2016 Conference at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fargo on Wednesday, April 6th. The goal is to share best practices on the use of innovative systems and technologies to transform healthcare.

Topics will include:
• Cyber Security
• Advance Payment Models
• Electronic Prescribing for Controlled Substances
• Population Health Management
• Cloud Technology
• Mobile Device Management

The featured speaker is Dave Molmen, CEO, Altru Health System

Register today HERE

Check out the Agenda and Flyer

There will be a social Tuesday evening, April 5th from 5:30-8:00pm.

Hope to see you all there!

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Wondering how North Dakota is doing regarding Health IT?  ONC recently released a web app (see below) that allows you to look at where we are nationally and by state.  The link below takes you to the information.

As for North Dakota, we exceed the national average in almost all categories.  This is a result of the North Dakota can do attitude, everyone working together and getting the job done.

Here is what ONC Sent Out: Need quick summaries of health IT data? Well, there’s an app for that. The Health IT Dashboard has a new web app that gives you summaries of the latest national and state health IT data for EHR adoption, health information exchange, EHR vendor market share and much more. The best part? No downloads. Check it out right now in your phone, tablet, or desktop web browser.

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The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) is currently accepting applications for the Telehealth Network Grant Program, to demonstrate how telehealth networks are used to: (a) expand access to, coordinate, and improve the quality of health care services; (b) improve and expand the training of health care providers; and/or (c) expand and improve the quality of health information available to health care providers, and patients and their families, for decision-making.  A significant change to the longstanding program is encouraging telehealth services be delivered thru School-Based Health Centers (SBHC), particularly those serving high-poverty rural populations.  This program will provide funding during federal fiscal years 2016 – 2019.  Approximately $6,000,000 is expected to be available annually to fund up to twenty (20) recipients.  Applicants may apply for a ceiling amount of up to $300,000 per year.  The deadline to apply is April 8, 2016.  FORHP will hold a technical assistance webinar on Monday, February 29, at 2:00PM (EST).  To join, please visit https://hrsa.connectsolutions.com/hrsa-16-012/; Toll-free call in number (for audio): 888-790-1954; passcode: 4171383.  For more information, contact Carlos Mena at cmena@hrsa.gov .

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Many of you may have heard that CMS is looking to modify the EHR Incentive Program (meaningful use) in the future. Today, Andy Slavitt (CMS) and Karen DeSalvo (ONC) released a blog identifying where they go next. It appears from the blog, that they will transition from measuring clicks to focusing on care. The entire blog can be read at: http://blog.cms.gov/2016/01/19/ehr-incentive-programs-where-we-go-next/ . The Blog provides the principles they will follow and identifies what the changes mean for doctors and hospitals.

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today released final rules that simplify requirements and add new flexibilities for providers to make electronic health information available when and where it matters most and for health care providers and consumers to be able to readily, safely, and securely exchange that information.

The press release is live here: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2015pres/10/20151006a.html

The CMS rule is live here: https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2015-25595.pdf

The ONC rule is live here: https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2015-25597.pdf

For more information about today’s announcement visit: http://cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2015-Fact-sheets-items/2015-10-06.html

For more information on the CMS final rule with comment period, click here:


For more information on ONC’s editions of certification criteria visit:


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REGISTRATIONS NOW OPEN!!! The 2015 North Dakota eHealth/HIMSS Summit is being held on Wednesday, November 18th. Click here for registration details and presentation topics. For additional information and past presentation, check out the eHealth/HIMSS Summit website.

Would you like to exhibit at the 2015 eHealth Summit? Let us know by contacting us at ndhin@nd.gov.

register today

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Partnership Enables North Dakota Health Information Network Access to Medical Images, Providing a Comprehensive View of the Patient Record

Rochester, N.Y., June 9, 2015 – eHealth Technologies, the leading provider of image exchange solutions and Orion Health, a global population health management and healthcare integration company, announced today that they have partnered to enable North Dakota Health Information Network (NDHIN) to provide healthcare providers across the entire state of North Dakota with access to medical images as a part of the state-wide Health Information Exchange (HIE).

eHealth Technologies and Orion Health have signed a strategic partnership agreement that incorporates eHealth Connect® Image Exchange into the Orion Health Open Platform, enabling its users to access, view, compare and transfer fully diagnostic quality medical images such as x-ray, Computed Tomography, Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Ultrasound studies from anywhere they can access the Orion Health platform. Both companies are committed to delivering the critical and relevant health information needed by providers to care for patients when, where and how they need it.
“The partnership between eHealth Technologies and Orion Health will ensure that providers using NDHIN can access and share diagnostic quality medical images through our Open Platform. This partnership will help us positively affect patients’ health by minimizing radiation exposure from unnecessary duplicate imaging exams, while also reducing the cost of care,” said BG Jones, Vice President, Global Partner Alliances, Orion Health.
Gary Larson, Executive Vice President & General Manager, HIE Solutions for eHealth Technologies noted “Our partnership with Orion Health will allow healthcare providers to access their patients’ images from any external connected facility in full diagnostic quality, on a unified image viewing platform with no software to install, in the context of the complete patient record. Physicians will be able to securely collaborate to make care coordination across multiple facilities more efficient and effective.”

Mr. Sheldon Wolf, Health Information Technology Director, NDHIN also expressed excitement about the physician collaboration that is now possible with an image enabled HIE: “Image-enabling NDHIN will equip our providers with the tools they need to conduct real-time image consultations with other caregivers for a faster and more complete diagnosis and treatment. Being able to quickly connect providers with the information they need in sparsely populated areas will greatly enhance patient care.”
About Orion Health Inc.

Orion Health, a population health management company, makes healthcare information available anywhere by providing healthcare IT connectivity in nearly every U.S. state and in over 30 countries worldwide—facilitating care for tens of millions of patients every day. With an inherent ability to interconnect a wide variety of healthcare information systems, Orion Health facilitates data exchange within and among provider organizations, accountable care organizations, health plans, governments and health information exchanges, to improve care coordination, enable population health management, enhance quality of care and help reduce costs. For more information, visit www.orionhealth.com. Connect with us on Twitter, Facebookand LinkedIn.
About eHealth Technologies™

eHealth Technologies is the industry-leading provider of continuity of care solutions, serving over half of the nation’s top 100 hospitals, including 12 of the top 17 U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll Hospitals for 2014-2015, and leading health information exchanges (HIEs) across the United States. The company’s eHealth Connect® Referral Pathways solution enhances patient and physician satisfaction by streamlining transitions of care, and assuring physicians have the right healthcare information to care for their patients, right when they need it. As a critical adjunct to HIEs, eHealth Connect® Image Exchange enables the automated access to all types of medical images in the context of the aggregated patient record, in full diagnostic quality, and supports the ability for providers to meet Meaningful Use Stage 2 requirements.  For more information, visit www.eHealthTechnologies.com. Connect with us onTwitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

About North Dakota Health Information Exchange Network
The mission of the NDHIN is to advance the adoption and use of technology to exchange health information and improve healthcare quality, patient safety and overall efficiency of healthcare and public health services of North Dakota.  The North Dakota Health Information Network creates a safe, secure connection for life’s critical moments. For more information, visit http://www.ndhin.org/.

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The NDHIN wants to update you on a change of personnel within the NDHIN.  Charles “Chad” Peterson will no longer be with the NDHIN as of May 31, 2015.  He is transitioning off to start a new enterprise known as the Koble Group.   Consequently, if you normally contacted Chad regarding NDHIN services, please contact the NDHIN staff at:

Sheldon Wolf

Tina Gagner

Robin Hirsch

We are currently in the process of finding a replacement.  The job announcement for the ND Health Information Network Technology and Operations Manager position can be found at: https://www.cnd.nd.gov/psc/recruit/EMPLOYEE/HRMS/c/HRS_HRAM.HRS_APP_SCHJOB.GBL?Page=HRS_APP_JBPST&Action=U&FOCUS=Applicant&SiteId=11000&JobOpeningId=3003441&PostingSeq=1

Finally, I would like to thank Chad for all his hard work and dedication to this project.  He has been a key player in the design, development and operation of the NDHIN.  His time and dedication has been greatly appreciated by me, the NDHIN team, HITAC, stakeholders and the citizens of North Dakota.  Chad, best wishes on your new endeavor.

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The North Dakota Health Information Management Systems Society (ND HIMSS) Spring 2015 Conference will be held Thursday, June 25th at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fargo, ND.  Additionally, all are invited to a pre-conference social being held Wednesday evening, June 24th, from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM, also at the Hilton Garden Inn.

We have a terrific group of topics and speakers (see updated agenda attached).  We also have a fantastic group of sponsors who help to make these conferences possible.  This event continues to be one of the best networking opportunities available in North Dakota on topics related to Health Information Technology.

Please register for the conference by clicking on this link:  http://goo.gl/forms/CKIGon3syb.  Payment is by credit card only and is $30 for ND HIMSS Members and $50 for non-members.

The Hilton Garden Inn is offering a limited number of discounted rate hotel rooms for the event through June 1.  Contact the Hilton Garden Inn and use Group Code: HSN

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