Community Health Center Information Systems Assessment: Issues and Opportunities. Final Report. 3.5.1 Collaboration with the Larger Oregon Safety Net Community

10/30/2005

Stakeholders from various State government agencies, the OPCA and CareOregon consistently expressed enthusiasm for OCHIN’s existence and accomplishments to date. Overall, non-provider stakeholders indicated that OCHIN’s approach to collaboration among safety net providers in the State serves an important, previously unmet function. In particular, respondents from OMAP, the State’s Medicaid Office for health care services, and CareOregon complemented OCHIN and credited the network for improvements in the quality and efficiency of Medicaid billing in the State. Payer respondents also indicated that OCHIN can act as a useful liaison between payers and the providers to clarify issues related to how services were recorded in the system for a particular encounter.

Respondents from the State Office of Primary Care and OMAP agreed that the availability of a data warehouse populated by combined practice management and EMR data and covering primary care safety net providers in the State would be invaluable to public health policy. In Oregon, as in that nation as a whole, understanding the health and health care utilization characteristics of low income clients is a central challenge facing policy makers. In particular, the ability to track safety-net users across primary care encounters would allow for better targeting of outreach and provider resources to increase quality and minimize the costs associated with providing primary and preventive care for this population. Depending on how well OCHIN is able to integrate data from other government-funded service providers the data warehouse may be able to enhance officials’ ability to understand the extent of uninsurance or underinsurance in the State on a local level.  Because representatives from these organizations have been involved in OCHIN from the start and continue to be involved in the consortium, they expressed a strong belief that the direction and goals of the network are consistent with the priorities and requirements of safety net health care providers in the State and of the larger public health, public policy and research community. Stakeholder respondents also expressed confidence in the motivation, ability and dedication of OCHIN staff.

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