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Leading Western Pa. Health Care Providers Will Create Information Exchange to Improve Care

PITTSBURGH, Aug.17, 2011 – Nine of the region’s leading health care providers announced today that they are forming western Pennsylvania’s first Health Information Exchange (HIE) in an effort to improve the safety, quality and efficiency of care for patients throughout the region. 

The collaboration, formally known as ClinicalConnect, comprises Altoona Regional Health System, Armstrong County Memorial Hospital, Butler Health System, Excela Health, Heritage Valley Health System, Jefferson Regional Medical Center, St. Clair Hospital, The Washington Hospital and UPMC.

The HIE, expected to be one of the largest and most active of its kind in the state, will be implemented over the next two years, starting with a pilot at Heritage Valley. 

“The mission of provider-based ClinicalConnect is simply to improve care for our patients by providing the right information at the right time, regardless of where patients choose to be treated,” said Norman Mitry, president and chief executive officer of Heritage Valley. 

ClinicalConnect’s intention is to expand its membership to other western Pennsylvania hospitals and health systems in the near future.  Over time, it will connect with state and federal exchanges that are being developed to improve the coordination of patient care.

“The founding partners of ClinicalConnect have worked together for nearly two years to plan this sustainable network for securely sharing health information,” said Dan Drawbaugh, chief information officer at UPMC. “Leveraging the technology investments made by all of our partners, we will go above and beyond federal requirements for ‘meaningful use’ of electronic medical records. Our goal is to provide the kind of patient-centered, accountable care envisioned under health care reform and to create a model that can be replicated nationwide.”

ClinicalConnect, to be funded by all of the partners, will allow clinicians to have just-in-time access to such key patient information as allergies, medications, lab results, past hospitalizations and other information that might affect clinical decisions. Improved coordination of care among providers is expected to reduce unnecessary testing, delays and costs; increase the use of preventive care and chronic illness management programs, and assist efforts to track and improve public health. 

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