The grant, awarded by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services to the Connecticut Office of Health Strategy (OHS), will be used to further develop a secure, modern health information exchange that facilitates the sharing of patient records with doctors and hospitals. According to Gov. Dannel Malloy, the information exchange will help rein in the high cost of health care.
The grant follows a $5 million federal investment the state received in 2017 that facilitated health information exchange planning. To qualify for the additional resources, states outlined how their health technology plan would improve disease management, serve the Medicaid population (over 800,000 in Connecticut), combat the opioid epidemic, and improve overall health care through the use of clinical data.
The new round of funding launches a pilot program for the health information exchange, which was one of the nine recommendations made by the Health Information Technology Advisory Council, a statutory body tasked with a comprehensive examination of Connecticut’s current health technology needs. It is expected to be operational by early 2019.
“Healthy communities are an important part of a strong economy and building a strong workforce that attracts businesses and spurs job creation,” Malloy said. “Establishing the health information exchange will improve patient care and save valuable time and resources for providers – an important factor in containing health care costs.”
“Connecticut providers need a modern, clear and cohesive system for information exchange that ensures timely information to providers so they can deliver the best care quickly,” added Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, who heads Connecticut’s health reform efforts. “Having a health information exchange that works for providers and patients across the state will improve the quality of care for consumers, help us identify gaps in care and health care disparities, and get us to lower overall health care costs.”
In addition to the aforementioned benefits, “The health information exchange also advances our efforts to improve population health and reduce racial, ethnic and gender health inequities,” said OHS Executive Director Vicki Veltri.
The health information exchange is underpinned by a trust framework that both stipulates the permitted use of data, which is protected under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and outlines the responsibilities of providers to data exchange. It will be designed in compliance with national standards for security, including HITRUST certification.