Integrating HIE Services to Improve Care: The Horizon Health Care Journey

Posted on: August 26, 2020   |   Category: News Releases

Horizon Health Care is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) with a network of 32 community health centers in 22 communities across South Dakota. They serve underserved patients from the northwest to the southeast parts of South Dakota and provide them with primary medical, dental and behavioral health care. Because of Horizon’s large geographic footprint, they work with many hospitals and health systems to address patient care needs.  Horizon Health Care has been a member of South Dakota Health Link since 2014, having originally started out with just access to clinical information in our Point of Care Exchange.  They expanded their use of Health Link and implemented Event Notifications (Notify) in 2016. Notify allows healthcare professionals the opportunity to engage with patients after admission, discharge, or transfer to/from another health care organization.

Before the implementation of Notify, Horizon Health Care found receiving access to timely information on patients who were admitted/discharged from the ED and inpatient setting was a challenge. It was not consistent, accurate or timely due to geography and the manual process that had been in place.  Since the implementation of Notify, Horizon has been able to engage with patients across its network after ED and inpatient admits and discharges. “Notify has been the only way we are able to receive reliable emergency and inpatient admit/discharge information for our patient population. This brings us a single source of information from several healthcare systems.” noted Lindsey Karlson, Director of Quality Improvement for Horizon Health Care. 

Over time, Horizon Health Care has adjusted how they utilize Notify to best fit their workflow. At first, Notify gave them the opportunity to engage with their Medicaid Health Home patients. Now, expanded use has allowed them to engage with patients who have been seen within the last six months.  Additionally, they are exploring more potential options to use the Notify tools to assist in other areas of their operations.

With patient numbers well into the thousands, adding Medical Records staff to receive notifications has helped with patient follow up and the ability to capture more data. Horizon also has access to the Point of Care Exchange which is included as a link within Notify and makes it easier to see pertinent clinical information. The Point of Care Exchange contains clinical information, such as lab or other diagnostic results, transcribed documents such as discharge summaries, along with medication history and robust demographic information from across the Health Link network.  Prior to utilizing the Point of Care Exchange, calls would be made to other facilities requesting records or other information and then wait for a call back or  fax which may be delayed by hours or days. With the access to the Point of Care, Horizon can view, print, or download information such as discharge summaries and eliminate the phone calls and waiting time for those records.

For more information about how Horizon Health Care has integrated the use of Health Link services into their workflow, or to find out more about Health Link, please contact us.