Linking disparate health care providers in a community to create a unified health record will not be cheap, but is essential to population health management.

Maria Parham Medical Center in Henderson, N.C., has successfully implemented a patient portal to actively engage patients in their care. “Patients can choose to share their health care records across the continuum of care,” says Chief Information Officer Randy Williams.

Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas highlights high-risk groups within their patient population with its patient data. “The biggest challenge we face today,” says Joe Longo, vice president, division of information technologies, “is staying in sync with non-Parkland-owned facilities and timing technology adoption, optimization and upgrades.”

To Do List

Work with other hospitals, primary care physicians, specialists, home health, rehabilitation, skilled nursing facilities and other providers to agree on an information-sharing and integration strategy, as well as standards and costs.

Build privacy and security protections so that only authorized providers can view patient information on a need-to-know basis.

Let patients know your organization participates in a community health record and provide a form to opt in or out of participation.

Educate patients on the benefits of sharing their health information electronically and securely with other health care providers involved in their care.

H&HN provides continuing coverage of the annual Most Wired Survey and Benchmarking Study and other IT issues. The 2015 survey is scheduled to launch Jan. 15. The Most Wired Survey is produced by a partnership of H&HN, the American Hospital Association’s Health Forum and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives.