Grace Medical Home and Shepherd’s Hope Collaborate to Improve Patient Outcomes

As patient caseloads at Grace Medical Home and the Shepherd’s Hope health clinics for the uninsured continue to climb, the two organizations are working together to improve efficiency and patient outcomes and avoid duplication in services.

To support the effort, the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) in December approved grants totaling $95,100 so the organizations can develop a fully-functioning electronic health record (EHR) system that will coordinate and manage the exchange of clinical health records for patients. (WPHF approved a $53,100 grant for Shepherd’s Hope and a $42,000 grant for Grace Medical Home.)

These infrastructure investments would permit the two partners to manage patients for years to come and meaningfully contribute to substantial community health outcomes.

With a fully-functioning electronic health record (EHR) system, Shepherd’s Hope and Grace Medical anticipate being able to have the technology infrastructure in place to connect with the Central Florida Regional Health Information Organization (CFRHIO), providing a greater and more seamless flow of information between providers.

The long term vision is to integrate the CFRHIO electronic medical record system with the Primary Care Access Network (PCAN) clinics in Central Florida, and add more acute care hospitals and large group practices, according to Lisa Portelli, WPHF Program Director for Community Health. She also serves on the CFRHIO Board and in that role, she chaired the CFRHIO – PCAN Deployment Work Group. “The greatest benefit in quality, continuity and cost savings comes from reducing the overlap of services with the uninsured population. This is a very exciting phase,” she said.

IN 2011, the CFRHIO launched a pilot health information exchange to connect the electronic health care records of patients at Orlando Health and Florida Hospital. Physicians in 11 emergency rooms within the two systems can now view the health records of a patient who was seen by the other hospital within the past year. Today, that system has over one million patient records and 66-85 percent of available RHIO records were searched by the emergency room doctors, reflecting a very high rate of use.

Ms. Portelli noted WPHF began providing support for the development of an electronic medical records system through CFRHIO in 2006, and the system was eventually launched in 2010- 2011. In 2007, the Work Group awarded CFRHIO startup funds of $200,000 to serve as a matching grant so it could begin to develop an electronic medical record system in Central Florida.