25 Jan Hurricane Katrina devastation spurred creation of health information exchange, HIMSS16 speaker says
Bringing HIE to underserved communities proved that rural areas can benefit from telemedicine and other innovations, director says.
The path of destruction in the Gulf Coast states wrought more than a decade ago by Hurricane Katrina also resulted in unforeseen benefits for healthcare providers in the region.
One of those surprises was the rise of concerted efforts to provide telecommunications connections for caregivers in both rural and urban underserved environments in the southern United States.
That’s according to Dominic Mack, MD, executive director, Georgia Health Information Technology Extension Center and Georgia Health Connect and co-director, National Center for Primary Care, Atlanta Morehouse School of Medicine.
Mack will be sharing the experiences that grew out of building regional HIT capabilities during his HIMSS16′ presentation: “Sustainable HIE Models for Practices and Rural Hospitals.”
GA-HITEC is the state’s only federally-endorsed Regional Extension Center for health information technology. Mack said the organization has achieved impressive results in encouraging use of HIT among the state’s smaller providers.
“We work with 4,000 providers, 56 critical access and rural hospitals, and today have about 98 percent of those providers meeting meaningful use,” Mack said.
And, whatever happens with MU measures in the wake of the CMS announcement that the program will be phased out, Mack said those served by GA-HITEC have also started to realize the value of MU, “which help with a number of other quality measures.”