ECPHO Eastern Connecticut Physicians Hospital Organization, Inc.

Electronic Health Records

Electronic Health Records

electronicrecordsThe implementation of electronic health records can be a challenge, given the complexities of the healthcare system as well as the constraints of your busy practice.

At some point you may feel you are facing one too many questions in selecting and implementing your EHR system. ECPHO is available to step in and help you out.

The information on this site is intended to help you get started. We also hope you will feel comfortable in calling on the assistance of the PHO administrators, at any stage, to provide you with good information in answering your questions or concerns.

We have spent months gathering information, analyzing vendors and creating plans in order to arrive at this point where we feel we can really make an impact on the level of understanding of EHRs at ECHN.

Between our knowledge and your clinical experience, we should be able to put you on the road to a system implementation so that you can unlock the tremendous potential of electronic health records.

ECPHO has a comprehensive Electronic Health Records Information Packet that is available at no charge to ECHN physicians. If you’d like a copy, please contact Charles Davis at 860-533-2966 or

About the Health Information Exchange Project

ECHN and ECPHO have launched the Health Information Exchange Project to promote collaboration among ECHN-affiliated providers in the sharing of patient information.

It parallels the National Health Information Technology (HIT) Plan by focusing on adoption of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and enhancing interoperability of the health systems of ECHN and its affiliated medical staff.

The project’s two initial objectives, which parallel those of the National HIT Plan, include:

  • Expand the adoption of EHR systems by ECHN physicians, in which the PHO will serve as a resource to support, assist and provide information to ECHN practices during their efforts of assessing, selecting and implementing EHR systems for their offices. Strategic relationships have been established with three major EHR vendors which provided preferential pricing and provisions for ECHN affiliated practices.
  • Implement an ECHN Middleware Program to allow the automatic exchange of patient health data between ECHN and physician offices. The Middleware Program has two different approaches for ECHN to exchange information with physician offices, depending on whether the office has implemented an EHR system. The Middleware Direct Access approach is for physician offices with EHR systems, and the Middleware Web Access approach is for physician offices that do not have EHR systems.

ECHN’s Middleware Program

The goal of the Middleware Program is to lead to higher quality patient care by:

  • Allowing easier and quicker access to data
  • Reducing the need for retesting
  • Minimizing transcription efforts associated with re-keying of data

Clinical results (test results and transcribed documents) are accessible real-time to the appropriate office, eliminating the nuisance of receiving multiple copies of the same result via different communication mechanisms (fax, courier, mail). ECHN’s Middleware Program also provides greater functionality than similar programs offered by commercial labs.

ECHN’s Middleware Program is being implemented to ensure patient privacy and security through its strict user authentication feature, which ensures that sensitive patient information can only be reviewed by the intended parties. Comprehensive audit trail features allow all parties to easily document the current status (sent, received, scheduled) of the referral, and all user interactions are dated and time stamped.

Middleware Direct Access

During the past few years, ECHN has watched the increasing adoption of EHRs in physician practices. The results of the recent technology survey conducted by ECPHO and ECHN indicate that almost 40% of the ECHN affiliated practices have implemented or have plans to implement an EHR system within the next two years.

ECHN recognizes that the emergence of EHRs represents a new opportunity to improve patient care in our community and has developed the Middleware Direct Access approach to allow ECHN to securely share patient information on its Meditech HCIS with physician offices with EHRs.

The foundation of the Direct Access solution is a middleware software system developed by IATRIC Systems called Physician Office Integration. The Middleware System acts as an agent to receive, translate and forward messages between physician EHR systems and ECHN’s hospital information system. ECHN purchased this product to allow ECHN affiliated practices with EHR systems to receive and view lab and other clinical results from ECHN electronically.

Current implementation efforts involve the ongoing development of interfaces between ECHN’s Meditech HCIS and the three EHR systems endorsed by ECPHO – Allscripts/A4, eClinicalWorks and Misys. ECHN will consider interfacing with other EHR systems if requested. In all cases, the general scope of the interfaces is expected to include laboratory results, as well as transcribed reports for medical imaging, inpatient and ED discharge summaries, and other selected reports. If supported by the physician’s selected EHR system, ECHN plans to accept inbound orders for Laboratory and other services, eliminating the need for paper orders being filled out in the physician office.

The major benefits of the Middleware Direct Access are:

  • Improved operational efficiencies in physician offices (streamlined workflow), with results and reports are delivered to the physician practices and automatically inserted into the EHR systems
  • Reduced administrative effort and physician time
  • Improvements in the quality and timeliness of information.

Other key features of ECHN’s Direct Access Connection include:

  • Secure data transfer that meets HIPAA requirements
  • Bi-directional flow of data
  • Enhances the functionality of physicians’ EHR systems
  • Provides greater functionality than similar programs offered by commercial labs

Middleware Web Access

For ECHN-affiliated practices that have not yet implemented an EHR system in their offices, ECHN is implementing a Web-based system for ordering laboratory tests and viewing and printing cumulative results. The Website will permit physician offices to place orders and view results for patients. Cumulative results are maintained and can be printed in the physician office.

As a Web-based service, this program will only require physician practices to have an existing Internet connection and possibly some PC-based requirements, e.g. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0. The implementation process is quick and easy, which will allow physician offices and the hospital to recognize the programs operating efficiencies almost immediately.

Future Initiatives

ECHN and ECPHO anticipate developing other advanced information exchanges in the future, providing the ECHN medical community with the ability to better respond to the new information requirements of payers and patients. The vision of ECHN and ECPHO is an environment where patient information is shared across organizational boundaries, health care settings and technological platforms – a true interoperable environment.

From a clinical perspective, quality of care is improved as a result of access to more complete medical records coupled with decision support capabilities. Data such as patient demographics, medication information, allergies, test results, and problem lists should be available to and from the individual providers of the medical community.

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