November 20, 2018

GCACH Investments in Health Information Technology (HIT)

Wes Luckey, Deputy Director

The GCACH has committed to making HIT investments within the organizations undergoing Practice Transformation.  Having been approved through our Budget and Funds Flow Committee, we hope to support infrastructure investments that strategically support the goals of the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH).  We believe that health communication strategies and health information technology will also support improvements in population health outcomes and health care quality, and will help achieve health equity.  Below is a brief update of some our current activities:

  • CSI Portal: The GCACH requires a web-based online reporting and content management tool to assist in the monitoring of Participating Provider organizations and other contract performance. We also require a tool that will assist in the management of content relating to Practice Transformation (e.g. Practice Transformation Implementation Workplans), project areas (e.g. Transitional Care), learning collaboratives and other work tied to the Demonstration. This portal tool would support provider engagement and collaboration and facilitate learning by acting as a repository of information. It would also act as a data entry web form where participating provider organizations could upload quantitative and qualitative data relating to their progression through Practice Transformation change plans.  The GCACH has been in discussions with CSI Solutions, an organization that has built such a portal tool for three other ACHs (North Central ACH, North Sound ACH and Olympic ACH).  CSI presented to the Practice Transformation Workgroup and received Board approval contingent upon favorable feedback from some of our Practice Transformation organizations following an online demonstration.  We hope to have this piece of the work completed within the first week of November.  Following that, we will be signing a contract with CSI Solutions and organizing a workplan for its implementation within our provider network.
  • Direct Secure Messaging: Direct secure messaging is an electronic communication technology, that communicates (sending messages and data packets) between provider EMRs but also includes secure (HIPAA-compliant) web e-mail to communicate with organizations with no EMR. It is designed typically for the exchange of patient health information but can also convey information relating to a patient’s social service needs. After receiving presentations from several direct secure messaging vendors, the GCACH has made the decision to move forward in contracting with DataMotion. This vendor will provide direct messaging services to both clinical and community-based providers, so they might communicate patient information in a secure platform. This will assist with coordination of care and referrals for social service needs.
  • Online Community Resource Directory App: Healthcare organizations and consumers need routinely updated, comprehensive lists of local community services (e.g. supportive housing, low-cost transportation, inexpensive consumer legal services) that could be easily accessed (e.g. online site, mobile app). Such resources are a key component of establishing healthcare and community linkages. The GCACH is reviewing innovative technologies that will allow consumers easier access to a community-based directory for easy online searching of community resources. An information technology developer was contacted by the GCACH to bid for an externally facing App (web-based Internet site, iOS mobile app and Android mobile app) that would be used by consumers and providers. The App’s required feature list would include the ability for users to create a personal profile to bookmark resources; community resources grouped by broad, fixed and easy to understand categories (e.g. food, housing, goods, transit, health, healthcare, money, education, work, etc.) in order to minimize the amount free text inputs entered by the user.  As well, it should include easy to interpret mapping features, the ability to add feedback and reviews, and it should be constantly kept up to date. The Google Maps/Places application program interface (API) is constantly updated, making it more relevant than static databases. Currently, the GCACH is validating the usefulness of Google Maps for searching for community-based resources relative to other available resource directories (e.g. WIN 211, Aunt Bertha). Should we conclude that Google Maps is a useful resource, we will move forward with contracting for the development of this App.