Grant will connect Los Angeles County clinics to HIE

LOS ANGELES – L.A. Care Health Plan has approved $153,000 in funding for the Western Health Information Network (WHIN) to help connect a minimum of 10 Los Angeles County community clinics to an existing health information exchange network.

The grant will benefit more than 30 sites and the network is expected to cover in excess of 120,000 patients and 4,000 hospital beds within six months. Connected clinics will have access to network members’ patient data, including admission, diagnosis, treatment, medication, physician notes, demographic information and laboratory results.

“Patient information is highly fragmented and stored in different formats across facilities and settings, including hospitals, laboratories, pharmacies, clinics and physician offices,” said Dr. Elaine Batchlor, chief medical officer of L.A. Care. ”This grant will allow WHIN to link a cohort of community clinics to the health information exchange network in order to improve quality of care, reduce duplication of tests and services, and help providers become meaningful users of technology.”

WHIN is the new name of the Long Beach Network for Health, a non-profit organization established in 2003 to fill the need for Southern California providers to access patient health information at the point of care. The WHIN’s mission is to improve quality of care by developing an information-rich interoperable system that benefits communities, consumers, employers, health plans, and providers.

The current network includes hospitals in the Providence Health System, Huntington Memorial Hospital, the MemorialCare Health System, Quest Diagnostics, several area independent practice associations and some community clinics, with a current patient base of almost 20,000 patients. This project would increase the network’s patient base by 60 percent. In recognition of the grant, this project will be called the “L.A. Care Community Clinic HIE Access Project.”

The grant is just a fraction of the $3.6 million L.A. Care has awarded to IT projects.

In addition, L.A. Care has recently received a $15.6 million federal grant to establish the Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center (REC), called HITEC-LA, which will help doctors in L.A. County adopt and use Electronic Health Records (EHRs) in a meaningful way.

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