Categorized | Health

Hawaii Island Beacon Community marks 2nd anniversary


Over the last two years, the Hawaii Island Beacon Community (HIBC) has achieved several significant milestones with health care transformation activities designed to achieve the triple aim of: better care, better health, and lower costs.

As part of the national three-year Beacon Community Program from 2010-2013, HIBC is working to build and strengthen Health Information Technology (Health IT) infrastructure and information exchange capabilities; turn investments in Health IT into measurable improvements; and test innovative approaches for improving performance, linking technologies and improving care.

Some of HIBC’s accomplishments and ongoing initiatives include:

* Leading Health Information Exchange (HIE) system pilots in North Hawaii and East Hawaii so providers can securely access and share patient information electronically. HIE centralizes patient data and enables faster, more efficient communication across the health care industry. More than 10 organizations and 100,000 patients will be participating by the end of 2012.

* Assisting Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) with adoption of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and demonstration of Meaningful Use (MU). To date, 80 percent of PCPs on the Big Island have set up EHRs, and many are on their way toward demonstrating MU by using their EHRs to improve quality, engage patients, and better coordinate care.

* Engaging more than 16 entities from health care, government and the community in advancing the health care transformation on Hawaii Island through a first-time collaboration.

* Accelerating the implementation of more coordinated, preventive care for nearly 2,500 patients through Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) curriculum and training for 30 PCP practices.

* Developing standardized discharge procedures and tools in a first-ever collaborative effort across all three hospitals on the island to reduce hospital readmissions and non-emergency use of the Emergency Department.

* Expanding and testing programs to help patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. More than 400 patients with complex chronic conditions have been matched with care coordinators who are assisting with the scheduling and management of their care. More than four dozen patients are participating in innovative patient engagement programs that are bridging the gap between physician offices and community outreach.

* Supporting health and wellness for people of all ages across the island through the promotion of healthy eating, physical activity and smoking cessation and prevention. The development of community resources includes 19 Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) community-based projects and the creation of a comprehensive, free, online, searchable Health & Wellness Directory.

Some examples of the health care transformation taking place on Hawaii Island are:

* North Hawaii HIE

The North Hawaii region is a leader in EHR adoption nationwide, with nearly 95 percent of physicians using EHRs.

The spread of technology in this area can be attributed to peer-to-peer efforts pioneered by several visionary practitioners, most notably Dr. William I. Park, chief medical officer of North Hawaii Medical Group and vice president of North Hawaii Community Hospital.

“The physicians recognized a need for better communication, and came together to initiate and develop plans for an HIE,” said Park. “The implementation of the HIE is an important breakthrough that will help us deliver care that is more efficient and effective.”

The North Hawaii HIE has been in a pilot testing phase since December 2011 and is the first HIE pilot in the state.

Participating organizations include Cleveland Clinic radiologists at North Hawaii Community Hospital, Clinical Laboratories of Hawaii, Diagnostic Laboratory Services, Hawaii Emergency Physicians Associated, Hamakua Health Center, North Hawaii Community Hospital, North Hawaii Hospitalist Physicians, North Hawaii Medical Group, and Surescripts.

* Care Coordination

Three Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs)—Bay Clinic, Hamakua Health Center, and West Hawaii Community Health Center—and Hawaii Island Care Coordination Services (HICCS) are piloting care coordination programs to provide additional resources and support for patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Teams of care coordinators and patient navigators provide personalized, comprehensive, ongoing support for a select group of patients with the most complex conditions.

This includes addressing administrative issues that may arise — at the pharmacy, Emergency Room (ER), or physician’s offices — as well as being the first line of diagnosis if a patient is not feeling well.

Care coordinators and patient navigators also provide health education so that the patient has a thorough understanding of his/her condition and how to manage it. There are more than 400 patients participating in the care coordination pilot phase, and early results are promising.

* Practice Redesign

Nearly 100 primary care professionals including physicians and staff attended kickoff dinners in April 2012 to learn more about HIBC’s practice redesign program. HIBC is partnering with the National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii, North Hawaii Community Hospital and the Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA) to sponsor training for 30 practices to participate in TransforMED’s nationally acclaimed curriculum and transform their practices into Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMH).

“It’s an exciting process as we assist these physicians in adopting the PCMH model to help make primary care even better,” said Melinda Nugent, MS, clinical program manager for HIBC. “Every practice is unique, and the solutions are never ‘one size fits all.’ The great thing is that they’re learning from each other as well — it’s a collaborative experience within and across practices.”

The participating PCPs will attend a series of 10 webinars and quarterly collaborative learning sessions. The culmination of the program will be in March 2013.

Hawaii Island Beacon Community (HIBC) is an island-wide federally funded collaborative project administered through the College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

HIBC is committed to improving the health of Hawaii Island residents and empowering them to be more actively involved in their own health.

As one of 17 communities participating in the national Beacon Community Cooperative Agreement Program through the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), HIBC is building and strengthening health IT, translating investments in health IT to measureable improvements in health and health care, and testing innovative approaches to improve health care performance.

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