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Local & Regional
11:13 am
Thu October 29, 2009

Your Health Care

Tulsa, OK –
An unprecedented consortium of local health care providers and organizations known as the Greater Tulsa Health Access Network (Greater T.H.A.N.), announced today a plan to implement Health Information Exchange (HIE) across the Tulsa region for the betterment of healthcare quality and access and the convenience and safety of patients throughout the region. These efforts have been further encouraged by the need to respond to a federal mandate for HIE in the Tulsa region.

Much of the Greater THAN planning team, which consisted of more than 200 leaders from the local healthcare community, reported their progress in a meeting at Tulsa's City Hall at OTC.

"Tulsa is the largest city in the United States without a public hospital," said Mayor Kathy Taylor. "And Oklahoma ranks 50th in overall healthcare quality, and 51st in care given to children, according to the Commonwealth Fund reports of 2007 and 2008. Recognizing these concerning statistics, Tulsa's regional healthcare community has focused on the local level and developed an effective plan to use cutting edge technologies to improve access to healthcare and decrease costs while meeting the federal mandate for health information exchange"

Thousands of patients in the Tulsa region are adversely affected each year because of poor care coordination and information sharing in the healthcare system. Health Information Exchanges have been demonstrated to reduce healthcare costs and improve quality. Federal stimulus legislation mandates that a Health Information Exchange (HIE) should be implemented in U.S. communities by 2011. In recognition of the urgency and opportunity that this mandate presents, community healthcare leaders began work in June to formulate a process to implement HIE in the Tulsa region. Mayor Kathy Taylor convened a meeting of healthcare leaders from across the Tulsa Region on June 8, to establish a dialog about the value of health information exchange and ways to improve the quality and access to care for all Tulsans.

A 90-day planning period followed the June meeting. More than 200 leaders in the Tulsa regional healthcare community contributed hundreds of hours of their time to create a regional HIE plan. Planning sessions consisted of six task force groups: Clinical; Quality; Privacy and Security; Return on Investment/Business Model; Technical and Governance. Each task force provided a forum for organizations to offer their individual perspectives on each topic. It also gave stakeholders an opportunity to make their concerns known and to establish the structure and rules for an organization to govern health information exchange in our region.

Greater THAN's 31 charter organizations are listed on the Greater THAN website at www.GTHAN.org. These include hospitals, pharmacies, primary care clinicians, specialists, tribal health organizations, public health oversight groups, safety net/essential care clinics, first responders, university medical schools, payers, and foundations.

Greater THAN will soon release an RFP to vendors, seeking the technology needed to provide the interconnections between our healthcare organizations. The details of the RFP process and contents will be published at www.GTHAN.org. Please continue to check this website for updates on the progress of the Greater THAN cooperative. Everyone is invited to participate in this important process, and individuals may sign up to receive more information or regular status updates using links on the website's menu.