Wednesday, November 23, 2016

HealthNet connect Grows Up

It’s hard to believe that just four years ago HealthNet connect (HNc) was a UnityPoint Health grant project under the Rural Health Care Pilot Program (RHCPP). There were literally dozens of Rural Health Care Consortiums similar to HNc created across the nation under the same grant. During that time HealthNet connect was not even the largest Consortium in Iowa. HNc had roughly 80 participant hospitals and clinics (most of which were UnityPoint Health affiliated), in two states (Iowa and Illinois) and only provided a connection to the HNc private fiber optic network.

Fast forward four years and today HealthNet connect has close to 300 participants (the majority are not affiliated with UnityPoint Health), in six states (Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri and Minnesota). This makes HNc the 3rd largest and most expansive of the originally created Rural Health Care Consortiums in the nation. Additionally, through HNc Services, HealthNet connect now provides a range of eHealth, broadband and technology services to its participants.

So, what does being the 3rd largest Rural Health Care Consortium mean to our participants? With the growth of the consortium came the growth of the HNc team. The HNc team has the skill and experience to deliver and support some of the most complicated technical services using our privately owned technology infrastructure. Since we provide technology services to many of our participants we can better scale best practices across the consortium, which keeps costs manageable. More importantly, our participant hospitals and clinics provide exceptional care to literally millions of patients across our consortium and many of these patients see providers in various locations within the consortium. HNc is developing tools to allow for robust, secure communication and exchange of patient information for our clinical providers within the consortium. Tools such as Telehealth and Health Information Exchange (HIE) capabilities allows for better care coordination and more efficient population health management.

The HealthNet connect team are excited about our growth, however the focus remains the same, to provide technology-enabled healthcare that allows consortium participants to make a difference in the lives of the communities they serve.

Rodney Brown

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