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Advancing HIT in Oregon with a new approach
July 01, 2014

​The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has finalized a plan to advance Health Information Technology (HIT) and Health Information Exchange (HIE) in the state. The completed Business Plan Framework is a significant milestone in the State’s ongoing approach for a transformed health system that achieves better care, better health and lower costs for Oregonians. Oregon’s Business Plan Framework for HIT and HIE is available on the Office of Health IT (OHIT) website, healthit.oregon.gov.

Oregon’s health system transformation effort is premised on a model of coordinated care that includes new expectations for care coordination, accountability for performance, and new models of payment based on outcomes and health. To succeed, the coordinated care model relies on new systems for capturing, analyzing, and sharing information about patient care and outcomes, quality of care, and new modes of sharing care information between all members of care teams.

OHA has worked closely with a wide range of stakeholders to identify Oregon’s HIT needs, and specifically identify how the State, and statewide services could address some of those needs. In fall of 2013, OHA convened an HIT Task Force. This group helped synthesize stakeholder input, including the prior work of Oregon’s Health IT Oversight Council (HITOC), and provided recommendations that have helped to define the State’s role for Health IT:

  1. Coordinating and supporting community and organizational efforts
  2. Establishing compatibility, interoperability, privacy and security standards for participants in new state-level services
  3. Providing technologies for transformation to enhance state-level information sharing

The completed stakeholder process has also led to a vision for Oregon of a transformed health system where the care Oregonians receive is optimized by HIT. HIT-optimized health care is more than the replacement of paper with electronic or mobile technology. It includes changes in workflow to assure providers fully benefit from timely access to clinical and other data. Using health information exchanges allows hospitals, clinics and individual providers to share the right health-related information among all members of care teams to ensure the best possible care for Oregonians and their families.

In an HIT-optimized health care system:

  • Providers: Have access to meaningful, timely, relevant and actionable patient information to coordinate and deliver whole person care
  • Health systems, CCOs and health plans: Effectively and efficiently collect and use aggregated clinical data for quality improvement, population health management, and incentivizing wellness and prevention
  • Policymakers: Use aggregated data and metrics to provide transparency into the health and quality of care in Oregon, and to inform policy development
  • Oregonians and their families: Access their clinical information and use it as a tool to improve their health and engage with their providers

The State has already seen early successes in advancing HIT-optimized health care:

  • All of the 16 CCOs have agreed to OHA’s plan to use $3 million in transformation funding to secure federal matching funds for new HIT services. These funds will be used to support OHA’s vision of a whole state approach for achieving HIT-optimized health care. HIT infrastructure will connect and support community and organizational HIT and HIE efforts where they exist, fill gaps where these efforts do not exist, and ensure all providers on a care team have a means to participate in basic sharing of information needed to coordinate care.
  • OHA has partnered with the Oregon Health Leadership Council to obtain buy-in from all 59 hospitals in the state to implement the Emergency Department Information Exchange (EDIE). The EDIE project will provide emergency departments with key care guidelines for patients who have high utilization of emergency department services, with the goal of reducing unnecessary hospital services and improving outcomes. This service has successfully reduced ED utilization and associated costs in Washington State.
  • The State Legislature passed Senate Bill 604 in 2013, which requires OHA to establish a program and common database for providing necessary credentialing information on all health care practitioners in the state to credentialing organizations. Credentialing organizations currently credential health care practitioners independently, resulting in a duplication of efforts and a burdensome process for practitioners. Stakeholders have been engaged to assist the OHA in the implementation of this program to ensure an efficient and effective solution will be operational by January 2016.

Additional information about OHA’s vision for HIT-optimized health care and Oregon’s Business Plan Framework for HIT and HIE are available on the Office of Health IT (OHIT) website, healthit.oregon.gov. Subscribe to the OHIT email listserv to receive information and updates on the implementation of new HIT services.