GeorgiaDirect Launched in Phase I of Georgia’s Statewide Health Information Network. Improving Health Care Begins with Connecting the Docs.

ATLANTA - More than 2100 healthcare providers across Georgia have registered for GeorgiaDirect, a free, secure e-mail, and easy-to use messaging service offered by the Georgia Health Information Network Inc. (GaHIN). Spearheaded by the Health Information Technology (Health IT) Division of the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) and the GaHIN in a public/private partnership, GeorgiaDirect was developed to automate healthcare referrals between patients, physicians, hospitals, laboratories and other authorized healthcare stakeholders.

“GeorgiaDirect is the first step in implementing a statewide – not state-run – health information network to better serve patients and increase efficiencies in healthcare across Georgia,” said David A. Cook, DCH commissioner. “This network – which should not be confused with a health insurance exchange – will literally transform healthcare in the years to come, delivering on our goal of a healthy Georgia through greater coordination of care, delivering better health outcomes, increasing administrative efficiencies and more. Additionally, privacy of health information is paramount to the department, and GeorgiaDirect is much more secure for the transmission of information than current methods.”

Participants in GeorgiaDirect are able to transmit patient health information between authorized providers for a more efficient and secure exchange of patient data versus the current system of faxes, mail, couriers and telephones. GeorgiaDirect was developed using national standards from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s Direct Project.

“It’s time to do this, there’s no question about it,” said James R. Morrow, MD, Morrow Family Medicine, Cumming, Ga. “It is one of the things that will benefit them (physicians) more than anything else they can change right now. Health information exchange is going to revolutionize medicine.”

GeorgiaDirect is powered by Medicity, a leading health information exchange company. Medicity will provide technical and provider support for GeorgiaDirect secure messaging services.

“By signing up for GeorgiaDirect, registered providers will be able to securely share their patient’s health information with authorized providers at the point of care,” said Kelly Gonzalez, chief, Division of Health IT with the Georgia Department of Community Health and the Georgia state Health IT coordinator.

GeorgiaDirect is now connected with other states, including Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Mississippi and Wisconsin. GeorgiaDirect is expanding so that providers will be able to obtain medical records when patients move to another part of Georgia or across the nation.

“GeorgiaDirect is literally the onramp to our state’s Health Information Network,” said Dennis White, Chairman of GaHIN Inc. “Without this type of secure messaging capability, a typical Internet communication between doctor X and hospital Y could be unsecure, inaccessible, even delayed and costly if couriers are used.”