The Health eShare Direct Educational Conference is open to any health care provider Thursday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 .p.m. at the Chattanooga Convention Center. More information at www.healthesharetn.com.
Health care providers in Tennessee have a new way to meet federal requirements for electronic health records.
Tennessee’s Health eShare Direct Project is going statewide this month and is offering early adopters $500 to join the new electronic medical records-transfer network. Pilot programs in Chattanooga, Memphis and Hickman County over the past five months helped demonstrate the new technology and backers are rolling out the Direct technology across the rest of the state during August to enroll at least 4,000 health care providers. Developed by Memphis-based Qsource, Direct technology is designed to offfer a more reliable, efficient and quicker exchange of health care records and services among doctors, nurses, pharmacists, outpatient clinics and other health care providers.
Tommy Preston, assistant director of the Southeast Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disability, said Direct Technology helped improve the interaction between physicians, hospitals and those who treat patients after they are discharged from a hospital.
“It allows us to communicate patient information in a HIPPA compliant manner from anywhere in the state,” Preston said. “We were able to enter data much more efficiently and to make sure we were meeting the needs of each individual.”
Preston said his agency hired four care transition coaches — nurses and health care givers — to follow up with patients in the first month after they are discharged from the hospital to help persons follow the right drug and exercise regiments. Direct technology helped the care transition coaches to quickly and accurately get medical records and information about each patient.
Direct is an email-like service that allows health care providers to exchange medical information via encrypted electronic messages. George Beckett, health information technology coordinator for Tennessee, said Direct Technology “offers secure alternatives to faxing or emailing patient information and allows seamless collaberation among health care providers.”
A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that that only one third of specialist physicians said they always or almost always receive medical information from referring physicians. Such communication breakdowns can delay or confuse subsequent treatments or require costly duplication of medical tests or procedures.
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