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Monica Buchanan, Senior Director, Strategic Communications
Hartford CT – Connecticut Children’s and the Connecticut Children’s Care Network (Care Network) are the state’s first integrated delivery system to join CTHealthLink, the Connecticut State Medical Society’s health information exchange.
The Care Network is a collaboration between Connecticut Children’s and pediatricians across the state. This partnership between Connecticut Children’s and 26 independent pediatric practices is dedicated to improving access to healthcare and health outcomes for all children.
By joining CTHealthLink, Connecticut Children’s and Care Network patient families will now benefit from a coordinated approach to their child’s health care needs. Primary care providers and specialists can now develop complex care plans for each patient leveraging their access to real-time data, enhanced interoperability, and consolidated analytics available through the health information exchange.
“We are pleased that Connecticut Children’s and its Care Network are dedicated and committed to a more comprehensive way of sharing patient information,” said Richelle deMayo, Chief Medical Information Officer, Connecticut Children’s.
“Being part of CT HealthLink and having access to this type of patient data will allow us to save lives by preventing suicide which is the second leading cause of death in children and young adults starting at 10 years old,” said Steve Rogers, MD, Medical Director of Emergency Behavioral Health Services. “Children receiving care in our network often have complex medical needs that require them to see a number of different providers. CTHealthLink will help us to connect information across different providers and EMR systems to improve the care we deliver to our patients.”
Ryan Calhoun, VP, Strategy and Care Integration at Connecticut Children’s, said “As we continue to work toward population health, it’s critical that we’re sharing information across the continuum. The Care Network’s participation in this health information exchange will help us improve communication and bring more data to clinicians so they’re able to provide more comprehensive, high quality coordinated care.”
The current mental health crisis felt in Connecticut and across the nation was a key reason Connecticut Children’s joined CTHealthLink. It is critical to provide timely and appropriate care to patients in crisis or in need of behavioral health services. Connecticut Children’s behavioral health unit is one of the few places in the state that can provide emergency care for children’s behavioral health issues. It has seen a dramatic increase in demand over the past 20 years and care for these patients remains challenging due to the difficulty in accessing actionable and timely data
“Patients at risk of suicide are seeing their healthcare providers, but their risk is often unrecognized due to the fragmentation of health information throughout the system,” said Rob Aseltine PhD, CTHealthLink Board Chair and professor at UConn Health. “We see access to the integrated data and analytics provided by systems like CTHealthLink as a critical tool in helping pediatricians identify and intervene with children at risk of suicide.”
CTHealthLink will be a key asset to pediatricians as COVID-19 vaccinations expand to Connecticut adolescents this month and potentially to younger children over the summer, pending FDA approval.
Physician in the Care Network can now coordinate with Connecticut Children’s via CTHealthLink to ensure that children with special health care needs receive the COVID vaccine, and that all COVID vaccinations are properly tracked in the state’s immunization registry.
“Children with complex medical conditions are especially at risk for coronavirus infection. Any opportunity we have to improve prioritization, coordination, and tracking of vaccination of these children will increase their chances of safely navigating this pandemic,” said David Krol MD, MPH, FAAP, Medical Director for the CT Children’s Care Network.
“Health information exchanges have untapped potential and broad reaching benefit for healthcare. In partnership with CTHealthLink, we have an opportunity to further the quadruple aim in enhancing the patient experience, improving population health outcomes, reduce costs, and enhance the clinician experience across Connecticut, supporting our trajectory towards value-based care,” said Jung Park, Chief Information Officer for Connecticut Children’s. “Implementing this critical infrastructure begins a virtuous cycle, helping to enable future care innovation and accelerating research aims. I’m excited by the prospects and synergies that CTHealthLink will enable.”
CTHealthLink’s technology vendor KONZA, with over ten years of experience supporting physician practices and hospitals in reporting to state public health registries, will assist pediatric practices in the Care Network in connecting to the state immunization registry to monitor vaccination status.
KONZA is a recipient of a national STAR HIE grant from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, which provides funding to health information exchanges to assist their participants in COVID-19 testing and vaccination.
About Connecticut Children’s
Connecticut Children’s is the only hospital in Connecticut dedicated exclusively to the care of children and ranked one of the best children’s hospitals in the nation by U.S. News & World Report and a Magnet® designated hospital. Connecticut Children’s provides more than 30 pediatric specialties along with community-based programs to uniquely care for the physical, social, and emotional needs of children. Our team of pediatric experts and care coordinators bring access to breakthrough research, advanced treatments for both rare and common diseases, and innovative health and safety programs to every child. Connecticut Children’s is a not-for-profit organization with a mission to improve access to healthcare for all children through convenient locations, care alliances and partnerships.