Using Technology to Improve Patient Care

eHealth Initiatives

AHCCCS envisions a whole-person integrated healthcare system in which health information technology (HIT) and health information exchange (HIE) improve population health, enhance the patient experience, and lower costs. AHCCCS encourages all eligible laboratories, physical health and behavioral health providers, state/local government agencies, and contractors (health plans) to adopt HIT resources that securely store and share electronic health records (EHR), streamline the delivery of health care services, and improve member health outcomes.

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Health Information Technology Using Electronic Health Records

In 2009, as one component of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) established the Promoting Interoperability (PI) program. HITECH funding promoted the use of HIT and HIE among state Medicaid programs. AHCCCS used this funding to administer incentive payments to eligible providers and hospitals that adopted, exchanged, and demonstrated meaningful use of certified EHR technology. Between 2011 and 2021, AHCCCS and CMS awarded $691 million to Arizona providers for implementation and meaningful use of EHR systems. According to a 2021 Arizona State University, Center for Health Information Research (CHiR) report, over 96% of Arizona physicians report using EHRs in their day-to-day work compared to only 45% of physicians who responded to the same survey in 2009. See all EHR environmental surveys completed by ASU on the College of Health Solutions Publications page.

Since HITECH funding ended in 2021, AHCCCS has begun to leverage alternative funding sources to incentivize the use of HIT and HIE including the Differential Adjusted Payment Program and the Data Supplier Incentive Program. Additional information is available on the AHCCCS Program Plans page which outlines HIT and HIE strategic planning designed to promote innovation, accomplish short and long-term challenges, and ensure the best possible use of resources.

Health Information Exchange

HIE slideDoctors, nurses, pharmacists, and patients use HIE to access and securely share patients’ vital medical information electronically—improving the speed, quality, safety, and cost of patient care. HIE data is also extremely valuable to public health authorities who analyze population health. FAQ: What is HIE?

Arizona began developing its HIE in 2005 via an executive order from then Governor Napolitano. Stakeholders in the healthcare community developed a strategic roadmap for adopting HIT and HIE. In 2006, Arizona developed its first HIT roadmap, which included the selection of a nonprofit organization, Health Current, as Arizona’s statewide Health Information Organization (HIO), commonly referred to as an HIE. Health Current (now a Contexture organization), maintains EHR for more than 14 million individuals and has grown to include more than 1,000 participating organizations representing thousands of health care practitioners and delivery sites across Arizona. To learn more, visit the Health Current HIE page.

Statewide Closed-Loop Referral System: As a primary component of the AHCCCS Whole Person Care Initiative (WPCI), AHCCCS and our strategic partners have developed strategies to help providers, health plans, and community-based organizations (CBOs) address social service needs, commonly referred to as social determinants of health (SDOH). In February 2021, Contexture announced it was partnering with AHCCCS and 2-1-1 Arizona to implement a statewide SDOH CLRS, branded as CommunityCares. CommunityCares will enable health care and community service providers to connect on a single statewide technology platform to seamlessly improve and track the referral process between health care providers and social service organizations. To learn more about CommunityCares, visit the Health Current SDOH page