UKIAH, CALIF. — January 31, 2007 — East Kern County Integrated Technology Association (EKCITA), a federally funded technology project in Tehachapi, California, has selected Mendocino Informatics to build a rural health information exchange. EKCITA (www.ekcita.org) is a public/private partnership formed by the Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District, two Rural Health Clinics, and fourteen private medical practices. The goal of the EKCITA community-wide electronic medical records system is to improve quality of patient care and chronic disease management in the rural region of East Kern County.
During 2006 EKCITA solicited bids for construction of a health information exchange in the Tehachapi Valley region. An extensive evaluation process led to the selection of the proposal from Mendocino Informatics, a technology services contractor based in Ukiah, California. An important factor in the selection of Mendocino Informatics (www.minformatics.com) is their federated data storage solution hosted in a secure web services environment. A federated solution for community health records allows local health care providers to maintain control over patient records while limiting access to authorized participants.
EKCITA is funded by a grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The new contract with Mendocino Informatics represents a major step towards the EKCITA health information exchange. Rex Moen, President of the Board of Directors, remarked, �I am very excited to partner with Mendocino Informatics. It is evident that they share the same passion as EKCITA. We are both here to improve the portability and quality of healthcare. This marks the first step of a very long, but worth-while process.�
Mendocino Informatics builds and operates federated data solutions based on the Connecting for Health Common Framework (www.connectingforhealth.org), a suite of technology standards and operating policies for the sharing of health information. Technology solutions provided by Mendocino Informatics include a Record Locator Service (RLS) integrated with a community Master Person Index (MPI). Under this solution, delivery of patient health data to each office is unobtrusively adapted to the clinical work flow at each participating health care delivery site. The EKCITA health information exchange will provide physicians with secure access to remote patient records based on appropriate HIPAA authorizations. A community Personal Health Record will also be integrated with the EKCITA health information exchange.
About EKCITA (www.ekcita.org)
The East Kern County Integrated Technology Association (EKCITA) was formed to create a
community-wide electronic medical records system to improve quality and chronic disease
management in the Tehachapi region, to upgrade the use of health IT in medical practices, to
foster relationships among physicians, and to provide education and support to the local rural
clinical practice community. EKCITA is a community-based technology planning and
implementation project funded by a grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and
About AHRQ (www.ahrq.gov)
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is the lead Federal agency
charged with improving the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for
all Americans. As one of 12 agencies within the Department of Health and Human
Services, AHRQ supports health services research that will improve the quality of health
care and promote evidence-based decision making. AHRQ�s Health Information
Technology mission targets increased development, diffusion, and adoption of health IT to
improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans.
About Mendocino Informatics (www.minformatics.com) Mendocino Informatics was founded by information technology professionals responsible for the development of ground breaking, nationally recognized, open source community health information technology solutions. Previous projects include a pilot demonstration
of health information exchange among rural safety net clinics in Northern California, development and demonstration of the Connecting for Health Record Locator Service, and subcontractor participation in the development of a Prototype for the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) for the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC). Current projects include deployment of a local clinical message service under a grant from the Blue Shield of California Foundation, and operation of a local public/private health information technology steering committee convened by the Mendocino County Department of Public Health under a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.