Using Electronic Health Records and Data Warehouse Collaboratively in Community Health Centers

Using Electronic Health Records and Data Warehouse Collaboratively in Community Health Centers

Xiaoming Zeng (East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA), Elizabeth J. Forrestal (East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA), Leigh W. Cellucci (East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA), Michael H. Kennedy (East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA), and Doug Smith (The Community Partners HealthNet, Inc., Snow Hill, NC, USA)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/jcit.2013100104
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The organization Community Partners HealthNet (CPH), Inc. is a so-called Health-Center-Controlled Networks (HCCNs) that provide health information technologies, in particular Electronic Health Records and Data Warehouse, to participating community health centers (CHC) and rural health clinics (RHC). All 16 member organizations (CHCs and RHCs) in CPH are non-profit health care organizations providing primary health care to individuals in medically underserved areas. To provide quality and accessible health care to those medically needed, CPH and member organization rely heavily on funding from federal and state governments as well as charitable foundations. The investment in system-wide Health Information Technologies has been financially limited given the nature of the organizations. CPH and member organizations, through visionary leadership and cost-effective execution, have been able to adopt and implement advanced information technologies like EHR and data warehouse since early 1990s. There has been software updates and EHR upgrades, but the original design of the system still serve the information needs of the organization. This case study describes CPH in the health care environment, discusses the collaboration of six original individual CHCs to create CPH, the EHR and Data Warehouse projects at CPH, and then explains CPH’s on-going operations and new challenges in the context of meaningful use and big data movement.
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Organization Background

Community Partners HealthNet, Inc. (CPH) is a non-profit, federally-funded, health-center-controlled network (HCCN) headquartered in Snow Hill, NC, United States. The federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) defines an HCCN as: “A group of safety-net providers (a minimum of three collaborators/members) collaborating horizontally or vertically to improve access to care, enhance quality of care, and achieve cost efficiencies through the redesign of practices to integrate services, optimize patient outcomes, or negotiate managed care contracts on behalf of the participating members….HCCNs … exchange information and establish collaborative mechanisms to meet administrative, IT [information technology], and clinical quality objectives” (HRSA, n.d., n.p.). Benefits of being an HCCN include federal financial incentives and favorable status in the awarding of federal grants (HRSA, What are the benefits, n.d.). CPH’s member organizations began with six community health centers (CHCs) in North Carolina. By 2011, it had expanded to include 8 multi-site CHCs (including three of the original members), one FQHC LookAlike, and 7 rural health clinics (RHCs) in Connecticut, Missouri, North Carolina, and Texas (Community Partners HealthNet, n.d.). Together, CPH members provide primary health care services at 41 sites to 118,833 patients each year.

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