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Who is Connie and How Will She Impact My Practice?

  • By Southridge Technology

She’s like that aunt you never met, never even heard of, but she’s coming to live with you. She’s arriving on Wednesday and now you’re scrambling to get the guest room ready in time. Does she like a fluffy pillow or a firm one? Does she prefer tea or coffee? Will she get along with my dog? How will her presence affect my household budget?

As our healthcare clients prepare for Connie’s arrival, we at Southridge are receiving a lot of inquiries and concerns about the impact Connie will have on dental and medical professionals, their operations, and their budget. Please feel free to keep the calls coming. While this might be Connie’s first visit to New England, we’ve been here a long time and our staff of professionals is ready to help you and your team greet Connie and assimilate her comfortably into your practice.

Let’s look at who Connie really is and what she brings to the table. While we hope this article will be an informative and comprehensive resource to you, we still encourage you to reach out to us via phone or email if you have any questions or would like further support to help prepare for Connie’s arrival on Wednesday, May 3.

What is Connie?

In 2021, the state of Connecticut (Conn) launched a new Health Information Exchange (HIE) called Connie (ConnIE. Get it?) Connie is designed to provide healthcare professionals with access to patient medical records in real-time. The state of Connecticut is requiring all CT licensed healthcare providers to connect their Electronic Health Record system to Connie. Hospitals and clinical labs were required to begin the process on May 3, 2022. All other healthcare providers are required to enroll by May 3, 2023.

The Intended Benefits of Connie

Connie has the potential to have a significant impact on the healthcare industry in Connecticut and beyond. By providing healthcare professionals with real-time access to patient records, Connie can help improve patient outcomes by allowing health care providers to make more informed decisions about patient care. Connie can also improve care coordination by provingaccess to patient records from other healthcare providers, helping to ensure that patients receive the appropriate care, regardless of where they receive it. Additionally, Connie is expected to reduce healthcare costs. With access to a patient’s complete medical history, healthcare professionals can avoid duplicating costly tests and procedures, and ultimately leading to a more efficient and effective healthcare system. And finally, a more effective healthcare system will improve the overall health of the population it serves, providing greater opportunity for medical professionals to identify patterns and trends that lead to more targeted interventions.

The Functionality of Connie

Connie is a secure, web-based platform that allows healthcare professionals to access patient medical records in real-time. The technology that drives it is HITRUST certified. HITRUST is a secure and comprehensive risk management framework used in conjunction with HIPAA to keep patient data secure. To ensure the security of patient information, Connie complies with all applicable privacy laws and regulations. Only authorized healthcare professionals have access to patient records, and all data is encrypted to protect patient privacy. The system is designed to be user-friendly and easy to navigate, with intuitive menus and search functionality.

Connie is also designed to integrate with other health information systems. This means that healthcare professionals can access patient records from other hospitals and healthcare providers, even if they are not part of the same network. This can be especially beneficial in emergency situations, where time is of the essence.

The Impact of Connie on your Practice

Connie is prepared to work with all providers to get your Electronic Health Records (HER) connected with Connie. This may require providers to reach out to the vendor of their EHR first to inquire about connection with the Health Information Exchange (HEI). If Connie cannot connect to a provider’s EHR, the provider will be treated as a provider “without an EHR system capable of connection to, and participating in [Connie].” (CT, n.d.) Currently there is no cost to participate with or receive data from Connie. There may be fees incurred from your EHR vendor or integration partner.

Healthcare providers that use an EHR that cannot connect to Connie or those without an EHR are not exempt from compliance. These providers must have the capability to send and receive “secure messages in compliance with the Direct Project specifications published by the federal Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.” Providers who cannot connect to Connie must set up a direct email through Connie. By doing so, providers will meet this requirement. The statute does not address penalties for non-compliance. However, failure to comply may impact CT state license renewal.

Still worried? Give us a call at (203) 431-8324 or drop us an email at support@southridgetech.com. We are here for you.