Sunday, September 28, 2008

Coming Up for Air

Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to write. As the MAeHC pilot projects enter a transition phase, so too does the MAeHC organization itself. I’ll give a brief summary below of our main areas of activity and, in the coming weeks, I’ll provide more details on some of these activity areas.

We have been focused on three areas over the past few months.

First, and foremost, continuing the work in our pilot projects in Brockton, Newburyport, and North Adams. Almost all of the 500+ clinicians participating in the pilot project are now live on their electronic health records. We’ve brought them live on four systems (in descending order of number of clinicians): eClinicalWorks, Allscripts Touchworks, NextGen, and GE Centricity. Two communities – North Adams and Newburyport – are now live on their health information exchanges as well. Patient participation in the HIEs has been quite high in both communities so far, with over 90% of patients “opting-in” to the data-sharing networks. Finally, the MAeHC Quality Data Center is now in live testing as well. The QDC – which was created with technical assistance from the Massachusetts Health Quality Partners and CSC Corporation – extracts clinical data from the HIEs and calculates physician-level performance measures which are shared back with the participating physicians via a private website.

The second area that MAeHC has become increasingly active in is fee-based activities. The MAeHC Board of Directors has approved creating a subsidiary to provide fee-based professional services, and we are now in the process of hammering out the details of this new company. We have been engaged by a variety of customers already, consistent with our non-profit mission, but as the scale and scope of these activities expands, we believe that they will be best housed in a separate company dedicated to commercial clients. Among the clients that we are honored to already be serving are Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center, the New York eHealth Collaborative, and the Massachusetts Coalition for Primary Care Reform.

Our third area of focus has been on preparing for the statewide HIT program that became law in August 2008 with passage the Health Care Cost Control Act (also known as Chapter 305). The state has allocated $25M to an HIT fund that will be administered by the newly created Massachusetts eHealth Institute. We hope to be among the organizations chosen to implement the statewide program once the state has defined the program and finalized its plans for allocating the funds.

As I mentioned earlier, in the coming weeks I will describe in greater detail our pilot project activities and fee-based service plans. I wish there was more detail to report on the Chapter 305 program, but we are among the many other organizations in the Commonwealth waiting for the state to unveil details of its plan for the program.