Health Care

Kansas health care network connects to electronic systems in Missouri, Nebraska

The Kansas Health Information Network has connected with information systems in Missouri and Nebraska to share health information across state lines.

The connections to the Nebraska Health Information Initiative and Missouri Health Connection allow health care providers who are a part of the network to send and receive encrypted health care information online about such things as lab results, notes and patient care.

“We think it’s very exciting that providers will be able to securely communicate across state lines and send information for patients that pass back and forth to receive care,” Laura McCrary, executive director for the Kansas Health Information Network.

“It’s absolutely our plan to allow providers to coordinate with providers in surrounding states and eventually across the nation.”

KHIN is also working with Colorado and Oklahoma to eventually connect, McCrary said.

KHIN, which went “live” in July, is growing rapidly, McCrary said. There are more than 175,000 patient records in the network. So far, there are more than 3,100 providers, 60 hospitals and 150 clinics participating, she said.

From October to December 2012, there were more than 20,000 queries by providers to access information.

Ron Brown, Wichita Health Information Exchange board president and family physician with Wichita Family Medicine Specialists, says the connection across state lines is a “fantastic first step.”

The Wichita system is a part of KHIN.

“The ultimate thing is improvement in patient care,” Brown said. “That’s how we even got started with this whole process ... to provide improved services to patients at the time of service.”

The creation and integration of the information networks will also help reduce the duplication of services, saving time and cost for providers and patients, Brown said.

The next step for KHIN this year is setting up patient portals so that patients can view their records, message providers and schedule appointments, McCrary said.

That process will start in the spring, she said, with integration into the exchange likely happening in the fall.