ATLANTA The Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) and the Georgia Cancer Coalition (GCC) are pleased to announce the award of a Health Information Exchange Challenge Grant from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).  As one of only ten national awards, the $1,686,989 grant will fund a joint health information technology (health IT) project related to a “Consumer-Mediated Health Information Exchange” for cancer patients.  

“The Department is very pleased to accept this grant award,” said David Cook, DCH Commissioner.  “Our collaboration with the Georgia Cancer Coalition will place Georgia at the forefront of delivering patient-centered care and improving health outcomes for our citizens.”

Based in Rome (Floyd County), Georgia, the Consumer-Mediated Health Information Exchange (CMHIE) will provide the tools to give cancer patients access to their health information and enable secure two-way communications between providers and cancer patients for outcomes reporting, subsequent treatment and other health information.  The CMHIE will also allow individual health data to be sent to a cancer patient’s personal health record and permit cancer patients to decide who will have access to their information.

“We are proud that this initiative will be part of the statewide health information exchange,” said Ruth Carr, State HIT Coordinator and Senior Deputy General Counsel for DCH.  “The investment of internal resources in this project by Rome’s medical community is remarkable.”

The CMHIE project will be a model that can be replicated in other medical communities in Georgia and across the country.  It will involve the following members of the Rome medical community:

  • Harbin Clinic – a large multi-specialist physician practice
  • Floyd Medical Center – a non-profit community hospital
  • Redmond Regional Medical Center – a for-profit hospital affiliated with Hospital Corporation of America

These three organizations have a history of collaboration to improve cancer care for the Rome, Georgia community.  In 2000, they formed the Rome-Floyd Cancer Initiative and in 2002, the Northwest Georgia Regional Cancer Coalition.  Their involvement was also instrumental in the development of the GCC-funded Georgia Cancer Quality Information Exchange, an initiative that measures and improves the quality of cancer care in the state. 

The Rome medical community has been aggressive in their adoption of electronic health records.  The GCC is working with this group to connect to the statewide health information exchange.  The Georgia Health Information Exchange, Inc., a non-profit organization, is the governing body for the statewide network.  

“The GCC is excited to partner with DCH in this effort to bring the advantages of consumer-mediated health information exchange to the cancer patients in the Rome, Georgia community,” added Bill Todd, President of the GCC.  “Rome’s cancer survivors will be among the first in the nation to have access to and control over their health information in a secure environment.  The awarding of this grant is the culmination of years of collaboration among the healthcare providers in Rome and Floyd County and represents an opportunity for the community to be a leader in the state as well as in the nation in the area of health information exchange.”

About the Georgia Department of Community Health

DCH was created in 1999 to serve as the lead agency for health care planning and purchasing issues in Georgia.  DCH is designated as the single state agency for Medicaid and the State Health Benefit Plan, the health insurance program for Georgia’s teachers, state employees, retirees and their dependents.  In 2009, Healthcare Facility Regulation was created at DCH from sections transferred from the former Department of Human Resources, Office of Regulatory Services.  At that same time, the Divisions of Public Health and Emergency Preparedness and Response transitioned to the Department.  To learn more about DCH, visit www.dch.georgia.gov.

About the Georgia Cancer Coalition

The GCC is a non-profit organization dedicated to alleviating the cancer burden for the citizens of Georgia.  Created in 2001 by the Governor of Georgia and inspired by the late Hamilton Jordan, long-time survivor of multiple cancers and tireless advocate for cancer research and prevention, the Coalition has a ten-year track record of engaging key stakeholders in the medical, research, business, community and philanthropic arenas to form collaborative partnerships to leverage resources in the struggle against cancer.  One of the more successful of these collaborations has been with the leadership in the civic, business and medical communities in Rome (Floyd County), Georgia.  To learn more about the GCC, visit www.georgiacancer.org.