D.C. RHIO will be connected by Microsoft Amalga

The District of Columbia Primary Care Association has chosen Microsoft Amalga to link two hospitals and six community health centers in the newly formed D.C. Regional Health Information Organization.

The D.C. RHIO aims to improve the quality and accessibility of health care for underserved populations. When patients from the health centers arrive at Georgetown University Hospital or Washington Hospital Center, doctors will be able to view their health records.

Sharon Baskerville, chief executive officer at the D.C. Primary Care Association, said in a statement that sharing medical information among hospitals and health centers in the nation’s capital has been uncommon. “We expect to create a sustainable business model in the RHIO marketplace,” she added.

The RHIO is expected to begin operations early next year. After that, organizers hope to add at least four more institutions. Jane Thompson, chief operating officer at the association, said her organization hopes to spin the RHIO off as a separate organization.

The District of Columbia government gave the D.C. Primary Care Association a $6 million grant that will finance the Amalga purchase and RHIO start-up, Thompson said.

The six health centers in the D.C. RHIO — Bread for the City, Family and Medical Counseling Service, La Clínica del Pueblo, Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care, So Others Might Eat, and the Whitman-Walker Clinic — operate at 21 locations.

The clinics are implementing eClinical Works as their e-health records software.

Microsoft officials said Amalga makes it possible to integrate disparate clinical, administrative and financial information. It was developed at Washington Hospital Center under the name Azyxxi and acquired by Microsoft in 2006.

About the Author

Nancy Ferris is senior editor of Government Health IT.

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