HIMSS: Please describe your current involvement with HIMSS.
Ruth: Thanks to the generosity of HIMSS and the Regional Extension Center Affiliate (REC) program, I have had the opportunity to be both an active learner, by attending conferences and webinars, and an active contributor, by serving on HIMSS work groups (behavioral health), and staffing Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) exhibits at the HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition.
For me, the exposure to industry leaders; the ability to touch and feel innovative products and technology; and the opportunity to network with colleagues from all over the world has not only enhanced my professional growth, but set the stage for SMC Partners and our client, eHealth Connecticut, to stay on the cutting edge of the health IT industry.
HIMSS: Please describe the importance of the eHealth CT and the REC to improving healthcare.
Ruth: Before receiving the ONC award and designation as Connecticut’s Regional Extension Center, eHealthConnecticut, with its diverse healthcare stakeholders, was a pioneer in piloting multiple health IT projects. With the participation of almost all of the health plans, we created the Connecticut Health Quality Cooperative, aggregating and benchmarking quality measures for physicians to use for quality improvement.
We also worked with local hospitals and federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) to create a working health information exchange (HIE). These projects earned us the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) designation as a Chartered Value Exchange.
Over the last five years, eHealthCT has engaged over 1,600 primary care providers, assisting them in their journey toward meaningful use and improved quality of care. As the ONC REC Award comes to a successful conclusion, eHealthCT to develop and deploy software, such as the open source quality measurement tool, popHealth, which has been successfully implemented in many of Connecticut’s FQHCs.
A Regional Health IT Event: As Ruth explained to the HIMSS Weekly Insider, “healthcare reform in the U.S. has brought with it a positive shifted emphasis on equipping and engaging patients to have a voice in managing own their healthcare.” He is involved in the Better Health: It's Your Health, Take Charge conference that will bring together consumers and healthcare providers, from across New England, for a unique, two-day event on June 4-5 in Mashantucket, Conn.
This event includes the HIMSS Physician Regional Event Dinner Series: The Meaningful Use Paradigm: Connecting Providers, Engaging Patients and Transforming Healthcare on the evening of June 4.