Heywood Hospital, Gardner Visiting Nurse Association Share Patient Lab Results on the Mass HIway

Heywood Hospital and Gardner Visiting Nurse Association (GVNA) have developed a strong care delivery partnership. Their care coordination improved because the two organizations committed to sharing patient lab results electronically through the Massachusetts Health Information Highway (Mass HIway), the statewide health information exchange (HIE).

Gardner-based Heywood Hospital, a 107-year-old acute care facility, sent more than 650 referrals in 2012 to GVNA, a full-service home health agency, which travels to patients in 31 North Central Massachusetts communities. The sharing of patients’ lab results is a key care coordination activity between the two organizations and until 2012 it was a big paper process. The transfer of patient information via paper can be time-consuming and leads to redundancies in care, medical errors, and added costs.

2013 HIway Implementation Grant provided by the Massachusetts eHealth Institute (MeHI), presented Heywood and GVNA the support and assistance they needed to send lab results electronically. The result is better care coordination and an improved patient experience. By utilizing the Mass HIway and its secure network, the hospital is aiming to lower emergency department visits and decrease hospital readmissions for the GVNA transitioned patients. The electronic care coordination effort will increase the amount and accuracy of information available to home care providers at the time of patient transitions, as well as improve the efficiency and exchange of lab results.

“Through this grant, we have greatly enhanced an existing relationship with one of our highly regarded community healthcare partners. We are already planning an expansion of the work to make even more patient care improvements,” stated by Carol Roosa, Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Heywood Hospital. GVNA has proven to be an ideal partner for this health IT initiative and was recognized on April 29th by the Massachusetts Home Care Alliance as one of the recipients of the 2014 Innovation Award in Cross Continuum Collaboration.

The Mass HIway Implementation Grant program has provided more than $2.3 million to help 80 healthcare providers and related healthcare organizations connect to the HIway.