North Arkansas hospital becomes first to launch statewide HIE

January 8, 2013 in Medical Technology

The 174-bed North Arkansas Regional Medical Center (NARMC) has become the first hospital in Arkansas to launch the State Health Alliance for Records Exchange (SHARE), a statewide health information exchange (HIE) that extends secure, real-time access to patient health information to various healthcare providers throughout Arkansas.  

Through its implementation and use, officials say the HIE will help the NARMC reduce medical errors and duplicate testing, promote improved management of chronic diseases and allow patients to access their own health information.


“North Arkansas Regional is taking an important step in building our state’s digital infrastructure and improving the health care of Arkansans,” said Gov. Mike Beebe. “Its willingness to take part in the SHARE innovation will help ensure that a patient’s medical information is available where it is needed, when it is needed.” 


[See also: Arkansas exchange taps into Direct messaging.]


Many physicians, pharmacies and hospitals in the state still depend on sending and receiving paper records or faxes. Because of this, healthcare providers of various specialties who treat a single patient rarely have access to holistic patient data. The HIE will allow the electronic exchange of patients’ up-to-date health records to be shared by other hospitals and practices where these patients are being treated, officials add. 


“North Arkansas Regional Medical Center continues to pursue technologies that may be used to serve the patients and physicians in our community,” said Vince Leist, CEO of NARMC. “The exchange of patient information on a local, regional or statewide scale has the potential to influence the delivery of care and create efficiencies to reduce cost and improve quality. We will use this opportunity to support our physicians in their transition to fully electronic medical records.” 


Officials added that the statewide exchange of health information will become increasingly efficient as more Arkansas healthcare providers implement SHARE. 


“I am looking forward to seeing many more installations like this put in place across this state, so that health information can literally follow us as we move from one health care provider to another,” said Ray Scott, Arkansas HIT Coordinator. 


[See also: Most hospitals still seeking HIE solutions, study finds.]


During its beginning stages back in March 2012, SHARE started with extending Direct messaging to providers. In September 2012, Ray Scott spoke with Healthcare IT News about the messaging platform, which had seen more than 1,700 individual users with an additional 3,000 users who had signed agreements. Currently, there are 2,349 healthcare providers who have signed on with SHARE’s Direct messaging. The shift to Direct and HIE, Scott said, is imperative as today’s healthcare industry is an entirely different beast. “The healthcare marketplace that we’re dealing with is not your mom and dad’s marketplace,” he said. “Hospitals are no longer hospitals; they are now integrated delivery networks.”


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