Improving Ohio's Health: Electronically Connecting the Community


Electronically Connecting the Community: Making Care Plans Easier

by Dottie Howe, MA, MEd, Director of Communications

Four days a month, the indigent, immigrants, refugees, the uninsured and underinsured can access diabetes and hypertension screenings as well as other health and social services at a free clinic on Morse Road in Columbus, Ohio. Physicians traditionally have had a difficult time managing chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension in this patient population.
About 1,200 patients visit the Helping Hands Health and Wellness Center annually, which uses its electronic health record (EHR) system and additional functionality provided by the CliniSync Health Information Exchange (HIE) to overcome some of the related challenges to managing indigent and uninsured patients, especially those with chronic conditions. This electronic network connects hospitals, physicians and other providers across Ohio and is managed by the nonprofit Ohio Health Information Partnership.

The clinic now has the technological capability to electronically refer patients to other partners in the Central Ohio community, referred to as a “medical neighborhood.” This concept stems from the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) movement where the primary care practice is the hub of a coordinated care team involving other healthcare providers. While the medical neighborhood first sought to connect primary care with specialists, the community has expanded beyond ambulatory care.

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