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turnaround and better measures and tracks outcomes, it could be expanded from the pilot stage. However, even if eHealthConnecticut’s federally funded pilot program proves unsuccessful, Staywell Health Care will be in compliance with federal mean- ingful-use guidelines, Tracey says.

Moving to an EHR was in part prompted by the gov- ernment’s incentive – Staywell Health Care uses the Sage Intergy EHR – but Tracey says that’s only a small part of the decision to move forward. “EHR is really about improved quality, and not about saving or earning money; it’s about improving patient care,” she says. “With paper, the quality just isn’t there, and now we can monitor the practice and the health progress of patients.” The backbone of the HIE

Tony Ryzinski is senior vice president of marketing for Sage Healthcare Division. For more information on Sage solutions: www.rsleads.com/009ht-206

is an electronic health records and practice manage- ment system. The software gives doctors throughout the system a standard for accessing and sharing patient information. While the concept of electronic records management seems new, companies, such as Sage, have been delivering these systems for more than a decade. “The challenge with adopting electronic health records is ensuring that the practice and the patients get benefi ts quickly, which means ensuring a fast and fl awless set up and training,” says Betty Otter-Nickerson, president of Sage Healthcare Division. “We’re focused on helping doctors get those results and ensuring they have a great experience from selection of the system right through to improved patient care.”

Incorporated in 2006, eHealthConnecticut is a not-

for-profi t program that developed oversight and privacy standards prior to launching the HIE pilot program. The organization’s current mission is to implement and sustain a statewide HIE to improve healthcare quality, safety and effi ciency for Connecticut’s residents. The program will work to match the appropriate practice management software with physician practices, espe- cially those running one- or two-person shops, and help them negotiate contracts. So far, pilot participants include Hartford Hospi-

tal, St. Francis Hospital, Community Health Center, HealthWise Medical Associates, Staywell Health Care, Naugatuck Valley OB/GYN and Lawrence & Memorial Hospital.

“This is innovative, but it’s time, and we’re ready to show the state and the rest of the healthcare industry that doctors, practices and patients are ready for HIEs, ready for the next step in improving care and the qual- ity of lives,” Tracey says. “With the HIE and the EHR, now is the time for change; it’s time to move forward in healthcare.”

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