Central Florida Regional Health Information Organization Closes its Doors

electronic medical recordsThe board of directors for the Central Florida Regional Health Information Organization (CFRHIO)—which successfully created an electronic health information exchange pilot—has wrapped up its work and is forging a partnership with the Florida Health Information Exchange (HIE).

Although the CFRHIO pilot achieved its original mission of demonstrating the clinical value of health information exchange, the state HIE provides local health care providers with a broader opportunity to connect with others around the state.

The CFRHIO board determined the state HIE was a more cost effective and sustainable method of enabling the sharing of electronic medical records.

“The RHIO Board believes it is best to discontinue the CFRHIO and find a new collaborative community model that coordinates well with  the state-wide Florida Health Information Exchange (HIE),” according to Jeanette Schreiber, Chairman of the Board of the CFRHIO and Associate Vice President and Chief Legal Officer for the UCF College of Medicine.  “The development of a competing statewide HIE was not anticipated when the CFRHIO began. “

The statewide HIE, that some major providers around the state–including Florida Hospital and Orlando Health—have joined, will be able to exchange comprehensive health information among its participants.

In 2007, the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) provided the CFRHIO with grant support to serve as a match for State of Florida funds so an electronic medical record system could be developed in Central Florida.

Then, in 2011, the CFRHIO successfully 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 could view the health records of a patient who was seen by the other hospital within the past year. That system included nearly a million patient records.

Physicians embraced the system and, as a result, ordered fewer lab tests and images for patients. Surveys found that 85 percent of physicians who used the CFRHIO said they were ordering fewer imaging tests because the data was already in the system.  In addition, 72 percent of physicians who used the CFRHIO system said they were ordering fewer lab tests for the same reason.

In December 2103, WPHF approved grants so the Grace Medical Home and Shepherd’s Hope, which provide primary care services for under- and uninsured patients, could develop a fully-functioning electronic health record (EHR) system that would enable them to exchange clinical health records with other providers.

Lisa Portelli, WPHF Program Director and a member of the CFRHIO board since its inception, said WPHF remains committed to assisting with connectivity to health exchanges for the PCAN clinics that serve the under-insured and uninsured. “The greatest benefit in quality, continuity and cost savings comes from reducing overlap of services with the uninsured population.”