Health Information Technology Collaboration in Community Health Centers: The Community Partners HealthNet, Inc.

Health Information Technology Collaboration in Community Health Centers: The Community Partners HealthNet, Inc.

Elizabeth J. Forrestal (East Carolina University, USA), Leigh W. Cellucci (East Carolina University, USA), Xiaoming Zeng (East Carolina University, USA), Michael H. Kennedy (East Carolina University, USA) and Doug Smith (The Community Partners HealthNet, Inc., USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2671-3.ch011

Abstract

Health-Center-Controlled Networks (HCCNs) are collaborative ventures that provide health information technologies to Community Health Centers (CHCs). Community Partners HealthNet (CPH), Inc. is a HCCN. CPH’s member organizations are non-profit health care organizations that provide primary health care to individuals in medically underserved areas. As non-profits, they must regularly seek grant funding from foundations and state and federal agencies to provide quality, accessible health care. Consequently, initiatives to adopt and implement Health Information Technologies (HIT) require individual CHCs to carefully consider how best to incorporate HIT for improved patient care. This case study describes CPH, discusses the collaboration of six individual CHCs to create CPH, and then explains CPH’s on-going operations.
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Organization Background

Community Partners HealthNet, Inc. (CPH) is a non-profit, federally-funded, Health-Center-Controlled Network (HCCN). 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, 2012). Benefits of being an HCCN include federal financial incentives and favorable status in the awarding of federal grants (HRSA, 2012). CPH’s member organizations began with six Community Health Centers (CHCs) in North Carolina. By 2011, it had expanded to include six multi-site CHCs (including three of the original members) and eight Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) in North Carolina and Texas (Community Partners HealthNet, 2012).

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