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OZ Systems Partners with Texas Hospitals to Accelerate Critical Newborn Health Information Exchange

October 18, 2012

OZ Systems Partners with Texas Hospitals to Accelerate Critical Newborn Health Information Exchange

ARLINGTON, TX (RPRN) 10/18/12 — Newly implemented platform speeds birth notifications and follow-up care for newborns while supporting Meaningful Use

OZ Systems, a leading provider of public health information exchange, is partnering with two innovative hospital systems to provide a first step toward effective, secure and confidential communication among hospitals, pediatric primary care providers and public health.

Texas-based University Health System in San Antonio, and CHRISTUS Health, a health care system that includes 13 Texas birthing facilities, have deployed OZ Systems’ electronic Newborn Admission Notification Information (NANI) messaging platform. Utilizing demographics information collected in the hospital electronic health record system and the data from each baby’s hearing screening test, the information is automatically and securely sent through OZ Systems’ platform to the state’s newborn hearing screening program.

The first of its kind in the public health domain, the new platform has the effect of establishing an electronic child health screening record that may grow with and serve babies from birth through childhood. It also supports a critical element for hospitals preparing for Stage 2 Meaningful Use certification for electronic health information exchange.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 50 percent of infants nationally in need of specialty healthcare following newborn hearing screening may not receive it. Terese Finitzo, OZ Systems CEO, explained that ‘hearing screening prior to discharge’ is an approved Clinical Quality Measure (CQM) for Stage 2 Meaningful Use, a distinction that OZ Systems worked closely with the CDC to help to define. It also includes the second phase of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) set of requirements for the use of electronic health record systems by hospitals and eligible health care providers. “Our goal here is to ensure newborn infants screened with hearing-related problems receive timely and appropriate follow-up care. By establishing the information hub through electronic exchange, we are benefiting patients, families, public health and clinicians,” said Finitzo.

Under Meaningful Use, hospitals and providers receive government financial incentives for switching to electronic information exchange systems. OZ Systems’ partnerships with University Health System and CHRISTUS Health will help all three prepare for Stage 2 Meaningful Use, which is scheduled to begin in 2014.

Olga Haug, a registered nurse at University Health System in San Antonio, says with the OZ NANI system, “It’s so easy now. We don’t have to manually re-enter the information needed to provide care. This eliminates errors and is clearly one of the values of effective health information technology. When you’re ready to enter test information, the baby’s record is already there. Parents can get a record of the results. It’s like having extra staff.”

Technical project manager Tim Wilson of CHRISTUS Health oversaw the project to connect with NANI.  “With more than 30 acute care hospitals throughout the South and in Mexico, CHRISTUS has long understood the immediate care delivery ROI of providing patient information in real time. It made us a pioneer in interoperability. When we learned what OZ Systems and the Texas newborn hearing screening program were offering, we jumped at the chance, because it gave us a perfect opportunity to expand information sharing into public health reporting. All 13 of our Texas birthing hospitals are online, and if hearing screening programs in other states we serve decide to automate, we’ll have a head start.”

According to Finitzo, any birthing facility in Texas is eligible to participate in the NANI project. OZ Systems assists hospitals with implementation. To date, 63 additional Texas hospitals have taken initial steps and are testing for implementation.

About OZ Systems

By developing and implementing the world's smartest information technology platforms, OZ Systems bridges the information gap and helps children and families thrive through improved data accountability, performance measurement, quality certification, and electronic reporting for public health and early education.

Media Contact Name: Torin Kelly
Media Phone: 952-201-3483
Media Web Address: http://www.oz-systems.com/
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