UNC Health Care and IBM Announce Nation’s Latest Major Health Information Exchange

The new UNC Health Care health information exchange is expected to be among the most advanced in the nation, creating a model for the rest of North Carolina as well as other states.

HIMSS, ORLANDO, February 21, 2011 -- IBM (NYSE:IBM) today announced that UNC Health Care has launched a new health information exchange (HIE) to improve the flow of reliable health information among their affiliated hospitals and physician practices throughout North Carolina. As a result, health care providers will be able to quickly access electronic medical records, lab results and radiology reports while medical information follows patients throughout the hospital system and outlying clinics.

Today’s announcement with UNC Health Care signifies another milestone for IBM in delivering connected patient care. IBM’s technology and services for HIE and patient identification already touch 80 percent of the population of North America and are relied on by more than 100 large healthcare systems, more than 40 health information exchanges and the nation’s largest retail pharmacies.

The new UNC Health Care health information exchange is expected to be among the most advanced in the nation, creating a model for the rest of North Carolina as well as other states. States, regions, hospitals and physician practices throughout the US are working to meet federal requirements to adopt electronic medical records and connect stakeholders through HIEs to begin creating the infrastructure, incentives, and measures to interchange data effectively.

UNC Health Care will create a community of connected care, allowing doctors to more easily refer patients inside the healthcare system and making it easier for patients to get appointments. This will also ensure medical staff have the most up-to-date and accurate information on each patient. For physicians, it will empower them with trusted information at the point of care, for example, care providers will see all medications each patient is currently taking along with historical exams and test results from the doctors they previously visited.
   
 “Our vision is an integrated healthcare system that allows medical information to follow patients,” said J.P. Kichak, chief information officer, UNC Health Care.  “More importantly, we’re building a health information exchange based on a national standard to help ensure when one of our patients goes outside of our system for any reason, their records can be accessed by other hospitals in keeping with the hope of one day contributing to a nationwide system of connected care.”

The health information exchange will seamlessly connect UNC Health Care’s hospitals located in Chapel Hill, Raleigh and Siler City, North Carolina. Additionally physician practices, long term care facilities and home health agencies throughout North Carolina will also benefit from the system. Even though each hospital uses a different electronic medical record system, IBM HIE technology can interoperate with multiple systems. With IBM’s master person index (MPI) patient information from multiple systems is maintained under one unique identifier. An MPI enables accurate patient identification, a pre-requisite for access to clinical information at all points of care.

The UNC Health Care HIE is built on the IBM Health Integration Framework including IBM Initiate Exchange, IBM Initiate Patient and IBM Initiate Provider. The IBM Health Integration Framework will  connect and facilitate information sharing with accurate patient and provider identification.

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