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January-February 2013

KHIN to provide statewide personal health record

KHIN has been working closely with a team of Kansas health care professionals to identify a technology company that can provide a personal health care record for all Kansas patients. This is particularly important in improving Kansas health care outcomes and it will be the first statewide personal health care record in the nation.

The KHIN PHR team feels that the establishment of a statewide PHR is very important for the following reasons:

  1. Kansas patients want one location where all of their health care information is available. Looking at many different patient portals and trying to compile the information may be difficult for patients.
  2. The KHIN PHR will meet all Stage 2 MU requirements so KHIN Participants will not need to purchase an expensive patient portal upgrade from their EHR vendor.
  3. Clarification from ONC allows all healthcare providers that utilize the KHIN PHR to count every time a patient accesses the PHR toward the 5% participation that is required to receive MU2 incentive payments. This supports all Kansas health care providers who work together through KHIN to meet MU2 requirements.
  4. A link to the KHIN PHR can be provided on tethered patient portals so Kansas facilities that already use a patient portal can direct patients to a more complete listing of their health care information and their financial information.
  5. The KHIN PHR can be branded to reflect each health care organization.

The KHIN Patient Portal will be available in Q4 2013. For more information please contact Laura McCrary Ed.D at lmccrary@khinonline.org.

Pharmacies participating in KHIN

The Kansas Health Information Network (KHIN) welcomed its first pharmacy to the KHIN network in December 2012: Funk Pharmacy in Concordia, KS. This is an important milestone as pharmacies are critically important in the development of a statewide health information exchange. Participation of Kansas pharmacies in KHIN improves the health of Kansas patients by assuring safe and effective medication use and supports the pharmacist's optimized role in health care delivery. KHIN supports pharmacists in improving patient care through the following:

  • Pharmacists who utilize KHIN can search for their patients across all participating KHIN providers resulting in more current chronic disease and medication-related data for their patients.
  • Pharmacists can improve communication among health care team members through KHIN's secure clinical messaging/DIRECT with over 2700 KHIN prescribing provider members.
  • Participation by pharmacists results in more accurate medication data in KHIN. This supports all KHIN participating providers in improving the quality and safety of care.
  • Pharmacy participation in KHIN ensures that pharmacist administered immunizations are exchanged electronically with other health care providers and the state immunization registry.

Pharmacies that would like more information regarding KHIN can contact Laura McCrary Ed.D at lmccrary@khinonline.org. .

KHIN patient numbers growing

A key metric associated with the value of a health information exchange is the number of unique patients that are represented in the exchange. This is important because when a physician or other health care provider searches in the exchange they want to find data on their patients.

On February 4, 2013 KHIN patient numbers hit 200,000. The patients in the exchange are from all over the state but about 70% are from the Wichita area. This is due in large part to the participation of the two largest health systems in Kansas, Via Christi Health and HCA Wesley. At this time about 40% of the population of Sedgwick County is represented in the exchange. This makes the exchange particularly valuable for health care providers in this area (see related article from Sedgwick County Health Department).

KHIN patient numbers are growing rapidly. For the month of January 2013 the numbers grew about 10,000 patients each week. This is due to the addition of new facilities into KHIN but also new patients that are being seen in the existing facilities.

KHIN expects that patient numbers throughout the state will increase rapidly during the spring and summer months of 2013 as a significant number of hospitals will begin sharing data in the exchange. Regular reports of total patient numbers will be available from KHIN by request for specific counties or geographical areas.

KHIN helping providers meet MU2 in 2014

Meeting all of the MU2 requirements in 2014 will be a significant challenge for most Kansas health care providers. KHIN is working closely with KDHE to make sure that KHIN participants can meet all of the public health measures including sending immunizations to WebIZ and syndromic surveillance data to the CDC. KHIN is currently sending data to both and at the end of January KHIN had sent over 500,000 transactions to the CDC and 16,000 immunizations had been sent to WebIZ.

KHIN and KDHE are also working closely together to establish two pilot sites that will help Kansas providers.

  • The first is to send reportable lab results to EpiTrax. KHIN and KDHE are currently seeking pilot sites to participate in this project. To be eligible the health care provider must code their reportable lab results in LOINC and send them via a HL7 interface.
  • The second is with the Kansas Cancer Registry. KHIN and KDHE have established a pilot site, Kansas City Dermatology, to send data to the Cancer Registry. 

Lastly, KHIN is working to develop a statewide personal health record that KHIN members can use to share care summaries with patients and securely communicate with patients (see associated article).

Meeting the Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements will be a significant undertaking for all health care providers. KHIN will be supporting Kansas health care providers in meeting those measures that can best be met through a health information exchange. For more information please contact Laura McCrary at lmccrary@khinonline.org.

Guest article: Sedgwick County Health Department

Recently, an epidemiologist on-call at the Sedgwick County Health Department (SCHD), received a telephone call from a local laboratory regarding an infant's positive pertussis (whooping cough) result. In addition to the test result, the laboratory provided the patient's name and date of birth. The epidemiologist logged on to the new Health Information Exchange, Kansas Health Information Network (KHIN), with the hope of uncovering more information about this case.

On KHIN, the epidemiologist learned the infant was in a local hospital and the patient summary indicated the infant was experiencing severe respiratory symptoms. The epidemiologist was able to see the patient's address and telephone numbers. Armed with the KHIN information and the laboratory result, the epidemiologist placed calls to the hospital's department supervisor and the patient's health care provider.

At the suggestion of the hospital department supervisor, the epidemiologist directly contacted the nurses caring for the infant. They had not yet received word of the positive test result. The nurses immediately requested orders for antibiotics and instituted measures to help the patient and prevent the spread of the illness to healthcare personnel. The nurses notified the infant's parent of the positive test and informed the parent that the health department would call. The epidemiologist called the parent to discuss the symptoms and possible exposure and also the antibiotic prophylaxis of contacts to prevent the spread of the illness.

Subsequently, KHIN was again accessed to follow up and complete the case. At this time, more information was available in KHIN, including a case management report, other test results and final laboratory result report, all of which contributed to the investigation.

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