Kaiser signs on with Oregon IT network

May 10, 2013 in Medical Technology

Kaiser Permanente Northwest has become the latest member to join the Oregon Health Network, a national rural health care pilot program and subsidiary of OCHIN, one of the nation’s largest health information networks. 

Officials say the newly forged partnership will allow for the free flow of healthcare data between KP and non-KP providers. OHN, Oregon’s health information highway, will facilitate this data flow, providing connectivity to the entire healthcare continuum statewide.

 

KP Northwest – which provides healthcare to nearly 500,000 patients – includes the 329-bed Sunnyside Medical Center in Clackama, Ore., and the new 126-bed Westside Medical Center in Hillsboro, Ore., which is slated for an Aug. 6 opening. 

 

[See also: Kaiser bullish on Colorado.]

 

OHN uses Federal Communications Commission grant funds to provide a widely available, integrated and monitored healthcare network that allows users to tap into health information exchange, telehealth and conference services throughout Oregon.

 

“The walls of cost and complexity in patient care and medical education are coming down, and we are pleased to be at the forefront of this transformation,” said Abigail Sears, chief executive officer of OCHIN, in a press statement. 

[See also: 5 health systems join Florida HIE.]

 

As a patient moves across the continuum of care, this exchange of information among providers and communities will allow healthcare providers to better serve patients in ways that can cut down on time and costs, and ideally enhance overall patient and provider satisfaction, officials explain.

 

“Signing with OHN and working with non-Kaiser Permanente providers and health systems in support of quality patient care everywhere is a cooperative effort that benefits all Oregonians,” stated Kim Lamb, OHN’s executive director and OCHIN’s VP of marketing and communications, in a press statement. 

 

“Kaiser Permanente works with many alliance partners and other providers throughout the state of Oregon and Southwest Washington,” said Homer Chin, MD, associate medical director of Kaiser Permanente Northwest, in a press statement. “With the increasing need for high speed, high bandwidth, reliable connectivity, with 24/7 support, and the increasing need to extend our services to a wider community, OHN presented a quality-driven, cost-effective, compelling solution for us.”

[See also: Kaiser PHR sees 4 million sign on, most active portal to date.]

 

KP officially joined OHN May 1. Officials say that over time, KP patients and affiliate partners will see an improvement in the amount and reliability of information exchange and the quality of telehealth services as KP migrates from its current point-to-point connections with its alliance partners to OHN. Kaiser Permanente also plans to connect to additional community health providers through OHN, as the demand for health information exchange and information technology services increases and the cost of providing those services decreases.


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