healtheConnect partners with Collective Medical to improve care coordination and patient care across Alaska
healtheConnect Alaska, a state non-profit health information exchange (HIE), announced a new partnership with Collective Medical, the largest network platform for real-time cross-continuum care coordination, on Tuesday. This partnership aims to improve care coordination and patient care in Alaska by integrating the HIE’s existing maintained patient information with Collective’s network to create a statewide Electronic Health Record network for Alaska residents and providers.
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The HIE hopes that this partnership with Collective will help further Alaska’s public health initiatives, like reducing opioid prescribing in emergency departments and improving patient transitions from acute care to post acute and home-care settings.
“Alaska has expansive geography and many patients travel very long distances seeking care,” says Elizabeth King, director of behavioral health and workforce for the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association. “Even with flying, it can take a patient from a rural community a day or more in travel time to reach a medical facility. That patient may then be transferred to a larger hospital for more specific treatment and then back to the community where the care originated. It is not uncommon for some patients to receive care from multiple clinicians in multiple facilities for the same medical condition, making care collaboration crucial in ensuring positive outcomes.”
Laura Young, executive director of healtheConnect Alaska, said that because a lot of Alaskans fly out of state to receive treatment from specialists, this partnership will allow providers to access their patient’s data from any out-of-state hospital or provider that is part of Collective’s care network. This will give Alaskan providers more access to coordinate whole person care with patients.
“This partnership puts patients at the forefront,” says Chris Klomp, Collective Medical CEO. “By empowering care teams with timely, well-placed, and on-point clinical insights, Alaska’s multi-faceted healthcare system will be better supported and able to provide care to those who need it most.”
By working with the HIE, Collective can build on the existing EHR to identify opportunities for improved care decisions by providers. In addition, the HIE can use Collective’s platform to identify situations where a patient may face imminent risk of an adverse outcome without provider response.
In turn, Collective can push out real time insights directly to point of care teams to activate those providers that are best positioned to act for the health of the patient. This partnership will drive a higher level of provider awareness to help patients receive the best possible care at a lower cost through an improvement in care decision making.
Young says the partnership will also improve the coordination of mental health care with the upcoming integration of state mental health hospital records. This will allow primary care providers realtime insight into when their patients are released from care facilities and give them the ability to coordinate care with those patients that are most in need of care.
“With multiple health care crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic and an alarming trend of increased overdoses and substance use disorder, coordination in health care is more crucial than ever,” said Young.
The Alaskan state legislature helped pave the way for the state’s care collaboration with the passing of Senate Bill 74: The ED coordination project in 2016. This project worked to enhance care coordination for Medicaid recipients with excessive hospital emergency department utilization. This project helped to advance the state’s goal of providers having access to complete patient records across the state.
Enrollees in the ED coordination project received individualized case management services including care coordination and referrals to specialists and social service supports. The project was later expanded to other recipients who over-utilize other medical services.
This legislation helped establish the groundwork for the collaboration between the HIE and Collective Medical. The hope of the HIE is that this collaboration will allow health care entities to further progress the state’s mission of ensuring all modes of health care have access to whole-patient health records for the state’s nearly 740,000 citizens.
“By collaborating, Collective and healtheConnect Alaska can support care teams across all points of care with real-time insights and access to deep clinical data so that they can make the most informed care decisions possible,” said Young.