Two Arkansas Critical Access Hospitals receive grants for health IT connectivity
Awards from DRA and OHIT to link hospitals to state system
LITTLE ROCK, AR– Thanks in part to the Delta Regional Authority federal/state partnership with the Office of Health Information Technology, providers at Ashley County Medical Center and McGehee-Desha County Hospital now securely and privately can share their patients’ electronic health records with other authorized, SHARE-particpating physicians who are also caring for that patient, even when the doctors work outside of their systems.
Through the joint SHARE Connectivity Program, the Office of Health Information Technology (OHIT) and the Delta Regional Authority awarded Ashley County Medical Center $5,000 in funds to connect the hospital to the statewide electronic Health Information Exchange, known as SHARE (State Health Alliance for Records Exchange).
The Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) expect to reap concrete benefits of SHARE implementation, in the form of improved patient outcomes, as well as long-term savings in both time and money as SHARE’s efficiencies reduce costs and improve workflow.
Small hospitals across the state have transitioned from paper records to an electronic medical record (EMR) system. However, these hospitals may not be able to efficiently exchange patient information with larger hospital systems outside of their local communities and with other health care providers throughout Arkansas without connecting to SHARE.
Another benefit of SHARE is that information entered into the system is updated immediately for all SHARE-connected providers, decreasing time lost to transferring and transcribing medical records, and decreasing medical errors from having insufficient or outdated patient information.
“SHARE saves families money,” Arkansas Health Information Technology Coordinator Ray Scott said. “Getting providers to access the same master patient health record can result in fewer duplicate tests or procedures ordered by multiple providers, and very often helps improve patient health.”
Providers must join SHARE to have access to these benefits. Scott said the SHARE access is exciting for these small hospitals, but not limited to them. He added, “Every new hospital or provider we connect to SHARE makes both SHARE and Arkansas health care that much stronger.”
The State Health Alliance for Records Exchange (SHARE) is Arkansas’ statewide health information exchange (HIE) that allows health care providers, related health services professionals, and public health authorities in Arkansas to access and exchange with each other real-time, secure, electronic patient information that is protected by privacy and security laws. Through its implementation and use, SHARE will reduce medical errors and duplicate testing, promote improved management of chronic diseases, and improve patient care coordination among unaffiliated health care providers.