The Oregon Clinic is an independent specialty physician organization based in the Pacific Northwest, which works with many hospital systems on patients with complex stories. The practice consists of about 260 providers, 160 physician shareholders and nearly 20 specialty practices. The physicians at The Oregon Clinic are affiliated with multiple hospitals across the region where they use a variety of different electronic health records (EHRs) as well as their own EHR at their respective private practices; this has presented them with unique interoperability challenges.
Tim Fitzgerald, Director of Information Technology (IT) for The Oregon Clinic since 2010, was interviewed for this Case Study, which tells how The Oregon Clinic went from little to no interoperability to sharing information bi-directionally, previewing records and proactively surfacing pertinent information from inbound Consolidated Clinical Document Architecture (C-CDA) documents.
In 2010, two major local hospitals started using a large EHR system and The Oregon Clinic started to feel pressure from these hospitals to use the same system to simplify their data exchange. However, due to a variety of factors, this was not a viable option. They decided instead to look into alternate solutions to exchange information with hospitals. The goal was to find a cost effective solution that would get the information they needed into their patients’ charts in a timely, legible, accurate and relevant manner while using multiple systems across the continuum of care.
Prior to beginning on their path to interoperability, The Oregon Clinic shared information with hospitals by faxing referrals and other patient information between facilities. This was time-consuming and often failed to produce patient information in a timely manner. Their two local partners, Providence and Legacy Health Systems, were already involved in exchanging health information with other systems, which proved instrumental in helping The Oregon Clinic with their interoperability needs.