- The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) is partnering with population health management and health data exchange solutions provider Medicity to establish a statewide health information exchange (HIE) called the Wyoming Frontier Information Exchange (WYFI).
The partnership will enable Wyoming healthcare providers to more easily access patient EHRs and patient health data from labs, emergency departments, physician practices, and other medical facilities for better-informed clinical decision making and improved patient health outcomes.
The centralized data repository will offer providers a way to share and access participating patient’s medical history in a secure, streamlined manner. Data contained within the exchange will be encrypted and monitored through an audit.
“By utilizing Medicity, we can build a community of health that will securely place comprehensive data into the hands of health-care providers,” WDH Wyoming Medicaid Medical Director James Bush told the Wyoming Business Report.
Problems with care coordination have been a persistent challenge for providers in the state due to a lack of access to patient information. The HIE will assist in providing clinicians with detailed patient medical histories so patients no longer need to bring a copy of their own medical records when they see a new provider or visit an emergency room.
“If a patient has a CT scan in one of our facilities and they go to another facility, they would have a good reason not to have another procedure because the results could be transferred over in real time,” said Wyoming Hospital Association President Eric Boley.
WDH has been planning to launch the statewide HIE since 2016 and officially signed the contract with connectivity broker Medicity in December 2017.
“It won’t change how doctors keep their records, but it will allow them to be shared between different facilities and clinics,” Boley said.
Utilizing Medicity will also strengthen the connection between Wyoming providers and those in Colorado and South Dakota. The Colorado Regional Health Information Organization (CORHIO) and South Dakota Health Link are both Medicity users. Linking with CORHIO and South Dakota Health Link will create a multi-state HIE, allowing WDH officials to aggregate a wide variety of patient health data cross state lines.
While the partnership is underway, Medicity and Wyoming healthcare organizations still have work to do before the HIE is fully operational.
“Before the program can be fully implemented, interfaces will have to be built between the electronic health record that the hospitals have and Medicity,” Boley explained. “We hope to partner with other medical facilities in neighboring states too.”
Wyoming healthcare providers should expect to be able to use the HIE by the end of 2018. Participating in the HIE will be free for healthcare providers until 2021.
“Currently, providers are struggling to coordinate quality care due to limited access to patient information,” said Bush. “By forming the statewide HIE and utilizing Medicity’s solutions, we can build a community of health that will securely place comprehensive, usable data into the hands of our healthcare providers.”
“Furthermore, we look forward to our partnership with Medicity to bring easier interstate connections and unlock the potential for greater information sharing,” he added.
WDH will utilize Medicity’s Connect, Exchange, Explore, and Community Interchange tools to improve interoperability across the state. Through the exchange, Wyoming providers will have access to single, comprehensive continuity of care documents (CCDs) reflecting a full picture of a patient’s health.
“We’re excited to partner with the state of Wyoming and share our expertise with their providers to bring the medical community together,” said Medicity CEO Patrice R. Wolfe. “We look forward to building a platform that brings easy access to all the clinical data and insights providers need to coordinate the best care for the patients they serve.”
Planning for the WYFI began in 2016, and the contract with Medicity was signed in December 2017. With this partnership, providers will soon be able to access patient records from labs, emergency rooms, practices and other medical facilities. Due to Medicity’s connection with Colorado and South Dakota, Wyoming hopes to compile beneficial data on a larger scale, representing a multi-state HIE and broadening their borders to obtain a patient’s complete picture both inside and outside the state.