Central Kenai Peninsula Health Collaborative Technology (Alaska)

Project Details - Ended

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Summary:

The goal of this project was to examine and address why local information technology (IT) implementations or community health information networks fail to become successful or sustainable. A Steering Committee of senior level administrators from each of the four primary partners - the local hospital, community behavioral health center, the federally qualified health centers, and the long-term care provider - was formed to establish a plan to share electronic health information. The intent of the planning process was to define barriers to electronic connectivity - technical, legal, and sociological; and to propose solutions resulting in a plan for initial sharing of electronic patient health information. The Steering Committee activities included: Baseline Survey; Key Informant Interviews; & Physician Initiatives. The committee discussed options, defined privacy issues, identified barriers and potential solutions, and formulated a plan for staged implementation of health information technologies. Ultimately, network capabilities could ensure safety for transferred patients and increase access to physician specialists. The Central Kenai Peninsula project increased core user agency's understanding of the impact of health IT on patient safety and quality of care and formulated a plan to support local and regional health IT projects. This project was concurrent with national efforts to develop standards for health informatics. It was difficult to complete a plan, except in generalities, due to the complexity of issues and number yet unresolved. Lessons learned during planning activities in this rural setting provide insight into the difficulties of implementing electronic health records connectivity, need for a sustainable business model, and need for standards prior to implementation.

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