Leading the Interoperability Charge with Local Health Departments

Adam_M_Info-Pic.fwThe public health sector and local health departments (LHDs) across the country are seeing a big swing in the services they provide – moving from a solely traditional population health model to that of a primary care provider for the population that they serve.  As this shift occurs, it’s imperative that LHDs are laser-focused on patient care and not on cumbersome paper shuffling.

Family planning annual reports are required by the Office of Population Affairs (OPA) to monitor compliance, show accountability for Title X federal funds, help with strategic and financial planning, and respond to inquiries from policymakers and Congress. It is critical to have accurate and timely data in order to allocate funding and resources to where it is needed most, or resources will not be applied appropriately. That’s why the Title X Grantee’s Bi-annual Meeting in Washington this week is so important.

This event is a special opportunity for representatives of the 4,100 clinical service sites who receive federal funding under the program to come together to learn about new requirements, innovations in the field of reproductive health and updates to clinical guidelines.

Netsmart has been tapped to demonstrate its work on the foundational testing of FPAR (Family Planning Annual Reports) 2.0 and some of its functionality. It’s not the first such demonstration. Along with OPA, AEGIS, Epic and the Utah Department of Health, Netsmart presented a test case earlier this year in the Interoperability Showcase during the HIMSS Annual Conference. Due to the overwhelming positive response, OPA and its partners have invited Netsmart to bring the test case before a more industry-focused audience.

Through current interoperability standards and the additional standards included in the FPAR 2.0 profile, a Meaningful Use Stage 2-certified EHR (electronic health record) can send and receive content from a trusted source. In our demonstration, Netsmart has a trusted and established relationship with a state health department that is acting as the grantee and the “form manager.”  This health department consumes the data that Netsmart is sending in the form of a structured CCD (Continuity of Care Document), maps the information into the appropriate fields and populates the FPAR form. Once complete and verified by the state health department, it is sent back to the EHR user for review and submission to the OPA. This process reduces the extreme burdens of managing these forms locally, the cost and time of hundreds of hours staff can spend matching fields and data entry of patient information, and the complexity of handling and submitting large amounts of data in paper form.

Efficient, dependable and interoperable EHRs ensure that local health departments can adapt to the ever-changing healthcare landscape. It’s a major responsibility and honor to help lead the charge.