News on Health IT in Maryland

The Maryland Health Care Commission’s (MHCC) FY 2016 budget presentation to the state legislature includes the activities and progress of the Commission’s reconvened Telemedicine Task Force. Collectively, the Task Force advisory groups met 28 times between July 2013 and June 2014.

About 90 people representing 65 organization from both the private and public sectors participated in the Task Force meetings and made several recommendations on expanding telehealth adoption.

The Task Force’s Clinical Advisory Group recommended ten telehealth use cases be implemented in pilot projects. The use cases would demonstrate how telehealth technology can be used effectively in care delivery with an emphasis on vulnerable populations.

The Finance and Business Model Advisory Group identified the financial and business challenges for implementing the use cases and recommended that organizations develop solutions unique to their patient populations when implementing use cases.

The Technology Solutions and Standards Advisory Group recommended the development of a telehealth provider directory with a listing of telehealth practitioners to be available online through the State-Designed HIE.

A final report on the work of the Task Force and Advisory Committees was submitted to the Governor, State Senate Finance Committee, and the House Health and Government Operations Committee in January 2015.

The final report included a funding request for the General Assembly to provide $2.5 million to implement select telehealth use cases with a portion of the funding to implement the telehealth provider directory. The funding appropriated by the General Assembly would enable MHCC to award telehealth pilot project grants under its grants making authority.

The Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients (CRISP), a nonprofit corporation functioning as Maryland’s state designated HIE, continues to make progress towards building a robust statewide HIE.

Participants in the state submitting clinical information to CRISP included all 46 general acute care hospitals, two specialty hospitals, 40 long-term care facilities, eight radiology facilities, and three laboratories. In addition CRISP offers interstate connectivity to certain hospitals and providers in the District of Columbia and Delaware.

Information made available through CRISP is accessible for query through an internet-based portal. As of 2014, there were about 258 healthcare organizations using the Query Portal averaging 36,000 portal queries per month.

The HIE also offer real-time notification alerts to providers when one of their patients has an encounter at a participating hospital through the Encounter Notification Service (ENS). As of 2014, about 108 organizations were receiving ENS alerts to help coordinate care and facilitate post-acute care follow-up.

During 2013, CRISP launched services under the Maryland Prescription Drug Monitoring Program where all Schedule II-V drugs prescribed at any Maryland pharmacy are made available to providers through the Query Portal. As of 2014, about 3,500 prescribers, pharmacists, and delegates have used this service.


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