Conemaugh Health System One Of First Hospitals To Join Nationwide Health Information Network (NwHIN)

Press Release | Conemaugh Health System | September 11, 2012

The Conemaugh Health System is the first Pennsylvania non-government health care system and one of just 30 in the United Systems to go “LIVE” on the Nationwide Health Information Network (NwHIN) Exchange. The NwHIN Exchange is sponsored by the federal government’s Office of the National Coordinator as a way to securely share health information over the Internet – aka Health Information Exchange.

The Conemaugh Health System, comprised of Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center, Conemaugh Miners Medical Center, Conemaugh Meyersdale Medical Center, and the Conemaugh Physician Group has attained NwHIN Exchange operational status as part of the Military Interoperable Digital Hospital Testbed (MIDHT), a research and development pilot project designed to promote secure health information sharing between government and private sector healthcare systems.

The goal of the project at Conemaugh is to securely exchange electronic medical records and patient data with external organizations, including the James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center in Altoona through the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) pilot program.  With over 3,000 veterans seeking care from both organizations, clinicians will have on line access to more health information by accessing the “NwHIN Exchange.” Conemaugh will provide continuity of care records, hospital discharge summaries and radiology reports to partners in order to improve care coordination, enhance decision making and reduce duplicate testing.  Shared patients will be contacted via postal mail in the coming weeks to enroll into the program. 

“We are excited to participate in the VLER program, the first in the state of Pennsylvania.  I encourage veterans to complete both consent forms and hope providers utilize the “Exchange” to improve care in our region,” said John S. Hargreaves, MIDHT Project Manager.

Conformance testing to ensure compliance with messaging, privacy and security specifications was completed with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, part of the Department of Health and Human Services. After review, Conemaugh was accepted as a Participant in the “NwHIN Exchange”.

The MIDHT project is sponsored by the U.S. Army Medical Research & Materiel Command’s (USAMRMC) Telemedicine & Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) and is funded by the Department of Defense through Contract # W81XWH-10-2-0180.  Northrop Grumman Corporation is a subcontractor to this effort and maintains the health information exchange environment for Conemaugh.


About Conemaugh Health System

Serving over a half-million patients each year through the Conemaugh Physician Group and Medical Staff, a network of hospitals, specialty clinics and patient focused programs; Conemaugh Health System (CHS) is the largest healthcare provider in West Central Pennsylvania with 4,500+ employees and 350 physicians.

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