QIOs in Action

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Qsource Helps Providers Securely Share Patient Information

Qsource, the QIO for Tennessee, recently launched a service aimed at improving the exchange of patient information between health care providers and other caregivers. Qsource developed the Direct Technology system in partnership with the state Office of eHealth Initiatives. Providers can exchange information about patient care through the secure, encrypted email system by simply sending messages, diagnoses and files to providers, including other doctors, labs or nursing homes. The idea is to create a comprehensive, accessible electronic medical record that is easier to compile than manually piecing together a patient’s history. The need for streamlined, efficient communication among vast associations of caregivers is critical for improving quality of care. “Most networks can communicate internally with each other, but it’s very difficult when you start transitioning patients to other caregivers outside of that network,” said Jennifer McAnally Ride, Director of Qsource’s Regional Extension Center tnREC. “Direct [Technology] is about enhanced communication with everyone involved in patient care, including the patient.”

New Jersey QIO Examines Mental Health Effects of Hurricane Sandy on Elderly

Healthcare Quality Strategies, Inc. (HQSI), the QIO for New Jersey, was awarded a $1.5 million special innovation project grant to measure the behavioral health repercussions of Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey’s hardest hit counties. The one-year project began in July 2013. HQSI will use Medicare data to identify 10 communities whose senior residents could benefit most from being screened and treated for depression. HQSI officials will focus on areas with higher instances of seniors with chronic illnesses and previous behavioral health issues. The QIO will work with county offices on aging, hospitals, as well as other government and non-profit agencies, connecting people with local mental health and behavioral health care providers. “Early intervention will improve the quality of life for Medicare beneficiaries and potentially reduce long-term health expenditures for the Medicare program” by treating depression before it contributes to chronic health problems, according to HQSI.

Primaris Named One of the Best Places to Work in Health Care

Modern Healthcare named Primaris, the QIO for Missouri, to its 2013 Best Places to Work in Healthcare list for the second straight year. The national recognition program honors workplaces in health care that empower employees to perform at their optimum level to provide patients and customers with the best possible care, products and services. In addition to its QIO services, Primaris offers several types of consulting services related to quality reporting and quality improvement for health care providers. Primaris provides services for Missouri CLAIM, a free counseling service for Missourians on Medicare. The QIO partners with the Missouri Health Information Technology Assistance Center to help physicians use electronic health records to achieve Meaningful Use. “At Primaris, we invest in our people,” said Richard A. Royer, Chief Executive Officer. “Quality health care improvements – better health, better care and lower costs – could not happen without quality people.”