Winona Health Participates in Major Program to Advance Health Information Technology (2011)
Along with the Mayo Health Clinic and System, Winona Health has been chosen as one of the collaborators to be awarded a federal Beacon grant in excess of $12 million for the Southeast Minnesota Beacon Community Project. The mission is to build a modern health information network as a means of improving efficiency and effective patient care. The project is part of the national program funded by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Care Technology, part of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Principal collaborators on the award are Olmsted Medical Center, Winona Health, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Health System. They, in turn, are collaborating with each of the public health departments in 11 southeast Minnesota counties, a longer list of technical collaborators, and will soon include public school districts in the mix. Focusing on adult type II diabetes and juvenile asthma as conditions, the Beacon teams are developing informatics tools to track these illnesses in the population to help ensure optimal treatment. With this network in place, health care providers from doctors to clinics to public health and school nurses will be on the same page in ensuring no sick person is overlooked or goes without care. It also will mean that if children with asthma become ill, the information on how to care for them will be immediately available.
“Beacon is about providing a secure, validated and accurate system for electronic health care information, so people don’t get the wrong treatment or so treatment isn’t delayed,” says lead investigator Michael Harper, M.D., of Mayo Clinic. “It’s about keeping Minnesota the healthiest state in the country.”
Each collaborating partner is playing a special role. Winona Health is focusing on development of a closed circuit health-based video system that will allow patients to be seen for potential evaluation at remote locations, such as between the clinic and school. “This is about getting beyond the four walls of the hospital and clinic and going deep into the community to improve the health of individuals struggling with diabetes and pediatric asthma,” says Mike Allen, CFO at Winona Health. “The lasting solutions for improving their health largely exist out in the community, and this project is a down payment on that.”
“We are very pleased Beacon gives us the opportunity to develop reliable ways to share asthma-related information between physicians, parents and school nursing and other staff,” says Barbara Yawn, M.D., co-chair of the childhood asthma project group. “It is so important that schools and parents have up-to-date and accurate information immediately available to deal with changes in symptoms or asthma attacks.”