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Health Care Finance to Implement District's First Medicaid 'Patient Data Hub' Using MedPlus Technology
Date:6/4/2009

Health Information Exchange for Medicaid Beneficiaries, Powered by MedPlus Centergy(TM) Solutions, will Connect Physicians, Hospitals and Clinics to Accelerate Access to Patient Information and Better Health Outcomes

WASHINGTON, and MADISON, N.J., June 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Department of Health Care Finance, DHCF, the District's Medicaid agency, announced the selection of MedPlus, the health information technology subsidiary of Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (NYSE: DGX), to implement the District Government's first Medicaid focused health information exchange (HIE). Within a year, clinicians and selected hospitals and clinics serving Medicaid beneficiaries will soon be able to quickly share and access clinical information about their patients, at the point of care, thanks to the district's new Patient Data Hub (The Hub).

The health information exchange contract will empower healthcare providers, in the pilot project, to access and confidentially share critical patient information from any location through a secure, web-based portal and interoperable data exchange. The Hub will give doctors full access to information on patient allergies, lab test results, medication history, demographic data and clinical notes, driving improved patient care, and through the MedPlus Centergy(TM) technologies, afford them access to a national network that includes more than 85 electronic medical record (EMR) vendors and the more than 140,000 networked physicians using Quest Diagnostics' Care360(TM) connectivity services.

Health IT connectivity was a recommendation put forth by the RAND Corporation in their 2008 historical health study, Assessing Health and Health Care in the District of Columbia. RAND called for building on the District's existing investments in electronic medical records in primary care clinics, as well as in Regional Health Information Organizations (RHIO) and engaging private medical providers, including specialists and hospitals, to adopt a system of electronic medical records and participate in the RHIO to create a more comprehensive system of connectivity across the spectrum of care.

"Giving our most vulnerable residents one less thing to worry about, while simultaneously providing efficiencies in care that will help to improve the quality of healthcare delivered makes for a winning combination," said Dr. Julie Hudman, Director of the Department of Health Care Finance.

Participants in the pilot health information exchange project include three hospitals and six clinics. The Hub will aggregate patient data from these clinical sources and four additional government sources to provide the front line clinician with a richer set of data for clinical decision making. As a result, these sources will provide aggregated data that will assist in the identification of health trends and issues in the region, as a means to improving public health.

Authorized users of the Patient Data Hub will be able to easily share, access and manage, at the point of care, relevant clinical information, such as patient demographics, medication lists, allergies, advance directives, information on physicians treating the patient, and medical problem lists.

"The Hub's capabilities will not stop there," Julie Hudman added. "Ours will be an expandable and interoperable network that allows us to meet future needs. It will be equipped with data analytic capabilities that will empower our public health officials to identify and address gaps in patient care revealed by the aggregate data in the system; and it will help us to break new ground in locating at-risk populations, tracking the success of health initiatives and identifying opportunities for improvement in our healthcare system."

The MedPlus solution developed for the D.C. Patient Data Hub is designed to deliver adoption simplicity to its users, eliminating the need for complex IT implementation or significant disruptions to workflow, and offering a flexible, Web-based interface. MedPlus solutions are currently used by Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) contractors in California, New Mexico and New York as well as by some of North America's largest health information exchanges, including those in Ohio, British Columbia and The New York Clinical Information Exchange (NYCLIX), Inc. NYCLIX is among the largest HIE's in the nation, with 8 of its 12 member hospitals operating in Manhattan, including Beth Israel Medical Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital, Mount Sinai Medical Center, and New York Presbyterian Hospital.

"The District of Columbia is leading the nation by example in its launch of The Patient Data Hub, and MedPlus is proud to be delivering the technologies that will help drive care efficiencies, enhance patient care, and create opportunities for improved health for the residents of the nation's capital," said Richard Mahoney, president of MedPlus and vice president of Healthcare Information Solutions at Quest Diagnostics. "Our experience in providing health information technologies to large-scale networks and small practice physicians across the country has shown us that the greatest stimulus of all for healthcare providers and public health officials is to listen closely to their clinical experiences and their population's unique needs and partner with them to invest in the improved health of those to whom they provide care."

About DHCF

The District of Columbia, Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF), formerly the Medicaid Assistance Administration in the Department of Health, became a cabinet level agency on October 1, 2008. The mission of DHCF is to improve health outcomes by providing access to comprehensive, cost-effective and quality healthcare services for residents of the District of Columbia.

About MedPlus

MedPlus, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, is the healthcare information technology subsidiary of Quest Diagnostics Incorporated. MedPlus is a leading developer and integrator of clinical connectivity and healthcare information exchange solutions designed to foster better patient care and improve business performance for healthcare institutions, physicians and patients. The company's Centergy Clinical Portal & Data Exchange Engine and ChartMaxx(R) solutions efficiently and securely collect, store, manage and integrate clinical information within an organization, enterprise, practice or community. Centergy enables clinicians to access patient data in a centralized view aggregated from multiple care sites. ChartMaxx, the company's award-winning electronic patient record system, has been implemented in more than 120 hospitals and integrated healthcare delivery networks and has more than 300,000 users. For more information, visit www.medplus.com.

About Quest Diagnostics

Quest Diagnostics is the world's leading provider of diagnostic testing, information and services that patients and doctors need to make better healthcare decisions. The company offers the broadest access to diagnostic testing services through its network of laboratories and patient service centers, and provides interpretive consultation through its extensive medical and scientific staff. Quest Diagnostics is a pioneer in developing innovative diagnostic tests and advanced healthcare information technology solutions that help improve patient care. Additional company information is available at www.QuestDiagnostics.com.


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SOURCE Quest Diagnostics Incorporated
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