Health Care, Nonprofits, and Technology

Health information exchange shares medication histories

November 28, 2014
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DrFirst MedHx software
MedHx is a cloud-based software platform by DrFirst that allows hospitals to access patients’ medication histories. Photo via drfirst.com

A health information exchange has partnered with a maker of health care software to provide its statewide membership with a platform that delivers patients' "comprehensive" medication histories.

The nonprofit Great Lakes Health Connect in Grand Rapids, the largest health information exchange, or HIE, in Michigan, said this month that it will collaborate with Maryland-based DrFirst.

Through the partnership, the HIE's 120 member hospitals and their physician providers now have access to DrFirst’s MedHx software, which is a cloud-based platform delivering complete medication history reports for specific patients.

MedHx also includes industry-standard resources for medication claims and pharmacy fill data.

George Bosnjak, director of sales and business development at Great Lakes Health Connect, said the platform is a single point for combined medication history from multiple sources, such as insurance scripts from the state of Michigan.

“It saves a lot of time and creates a lot more accuracy for judging what medications an individual has been on or is currently on,” Bosnjak said.

DrFirst’s MedHx also incorporates the Wide Area Patient Search data network, which aggregates incremental prescribing data from providers, electronic medical record and electronic health record partners and hosted payer data.

Bosnjak said using the multiple sources for data and integrating the information in an easy-to-use interface not only reduces the time spent researching histories and interviewing patients, but also increases accuracy and patient safety.

“We work with a wide variety of providers and hospitals, and we are always looking to find tools that meet the needs of our members. The ability to reconcile medication histories presented in a clear, concise format . . . was a need,” he said. “So we proactively went and met with what we judged were the organizations and vendors that provided that service. DrFirst was a clear leader for us.”

G. Cameron Deemer, president of DrFirst, said the HIE is dedicated to providing modern health care technology to Michigan providers.

“By offering MedHx to its HIE members, GLHC ensures that physicians within their system can save time and avoid errors that may result from incomplete patient medication histories and also lays a foundation for flexible and comprehensive services in the future,” Deemer said.

The HIE and DrFirst offered the MedHx technology through websites, which went live in October at the Spectrum Health Big Rapids and Spectrum Health Ludington hospitals. Although the medication history data tool has only been in place for a few weeks, and it is a little early to determine the reaction, Bosnjak said the organizations are certainly working it into their workflow and believe it will be a valuable tool.

Doug Dietzman, executive director of Great Lakes Health Connect, said the nonprofit is focused on bringing the best services possible to Michigan and its members, and the decision to incorporate MedHx’s functionality into its platform is a reflection of that commitment.

“DrFirst’s MedHx tool simply provides better, richer and more comprehensive data in Michigan than any other service on the market,” Dietzman said.

Great Lakes Health Connect serves 120 hospitals and more than 10,000 independent and employed providers in the Midwest, including federally qualified health clinics, community mental health centers and long-term care facilities.

The nonprofit is the product of the 2014 merger of Michigan Health Connect and Great Lakes Health Information Exchange.

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