Big Bend Regional Healthcare Information Organization (BBRHIO), a health information exchange network currently serving nine North Florida counties, has been selected by the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) as one of three organizations to participate in Florida’s first statewide Health Information Exchange (HIE). The goal of the new HIE is to enable participating providers to streamline patient care by having the ability to share electronic patient records and medical information.

“We are proud to have been selected by AHCA for this very important initiative,” said Allen Byington, executive director of BBRHIO. “It affirms the great strides we’ve made over the past six years in connecting the region’s healthcare providers with a fully-integrated regional exchange network.”

BBRHIO was selected because of its experience with the secure sharing of health information among its provider network. It was founded in 2005 to develop an HIE that would connect and exchange the data repositories of competing organizations with disparate electronic medical record systems. Since then, it has grown into a fully-integrated HIE serving nine counties in the Big Bend area of the Florida Panhandle, including Gadsden, Franklin, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Wakulla, Taylor and Dixie counties.

BBRHIO currently provides secure exchange of clinical records for approximately 500,000 individuals in its master patient index (MPI), a number expected to grow to about 550,000 by the end of 2012. There are about 650 active credentialed portal users, with 800 expected to be participating by the end of 2012. Two area hospitals currently contribute data to the HIE along with 10 data feeds coming from local physician practices and one laboratory.

”We are excited to take this next step toward increasing the use of electronic health records,” said AHCA Secretary Liz Dudek. “This effort will ultimately lead to improvements in patient care and promotes greater coordination among providers.

“This is a significant milestone in a strategic effort to improve Florida’s health information exchange infrastructure,” said Byington.  “We are eager to work with AHCA and its partners to hopefully expand this technology around the state.”

In addition to BBRHIO, Pensacola-based Strategic Health Intelligence, LLC, and the Florida Division of Adventist Health System Sunbelt Healthcare Corporation were also chosen to participate in the state health information exchange. AHCA has contracted with Harris Corporation to develop the technology necessary to launch the network and plans to bring in 20 additional organizations by 2014.

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About Big Bend Regional Healthcare Information Organization (BBRHIO)Big Bend Health

BBRHIO is a federally-recognized 501(c)(3) not-for-profit that has deployed BigBendHealth.com, a first-of-its-kind health resource that brings with it economic benefits, a connected workforce, improved medical care and a breakthrough in exchange of clinical records. It serves as an essential communication resource for health care in the Capital region, with many resources offered in one place. BigBendHealth.com is the largest active HIE in Florida with millions of records for over 500,000 unique patients in the system and processing over 600,000 new messages a month. BigBendHealth.com initiatives involve every major component of North Florida’s local healthcare system from physicians’ offices to HMOs to hospitals, laboratories and pharmacies. BigBendHealth.com is a partner in the delivery of safer, more cost-effective healthcare, placing its community at the head of the line for federal and state research dollars and making Tallahassee a model for other communities seeking to control the cost and improve the quality of local healthcare. BigBendHealth.com is anchored in Tallahassee, Fla., and represents Leon and surrounding rural counties.

About the Agency for Health Care Administration

The Agency for Health Care Administration is committed to better health care for all Floridians. The Agency administers Florida’s Medicaid program, licenses and regulates more than 40,000 health care facilities and 37 health maintenance organizations, and publishes health care data and statistics at FloridaHealthFinder.gov. For more information about the health information exchange, visit AHCA.MyFlorida.com.

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