The Colorado Regional Health Information Organization (CORHIO) announced this week that all six hospitals in Northern Colorado are now connected to their health information exchange (HIE). This includes Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland, and Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins (part of UCHealth following the merger last year between PVH and University of Colorado Hospital). It also includes four Banner Health hospitals: East Morgan County Hospital (Brush), McKee Medical Center (Loveland), North Colorado Medical Center (Greeley) and Sterling Regional MedCenter (Sterling).
CORHIO’s goal is to have every community in Colorado integrated into the health information exchange by 2015, and the addition of the six Northern Colorado hospitals to the system is a step in the right direction. There are 110 hospitals in Colorado, and so far CORHIO has connected 27 of them to the health information exchange, and they are actively working on connecting two more. They are also currently working to add 800 more medical offices to the health information exchange, to join the 290 who are already connected.
Health IT has been a major talking point throughout the healthcare reform process, and the steps that CORHIO is taking will no doubt make for a more efficient healthcare system once the entire state is linked through the Colorado health information exchange. Patients who see multiple doctors or who are treated at more than one hospital will have more continuity of care than they’ve had in the past, and – hopefully – doctors will be able to spend more time treating patients and less time trying to dig up a patient’s medical records from other providers. It would be nice if the health information exchange is also linked with patient health insurance data so that doctors and patients can see coverage details in real time and communicate with health insurance carriers on the spot rather than waiting for claims to be sent back and forth. I haven’t seen anything like that mentioned yet, but it would be a good addition to general health information sharing systems.