(Rochester, New York, September 18, 2007) The Greater Rochester Independent Practice Association (GRIPA) received a favorable advisory opinion yesterday from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for its Clinical Integration program. This is only the second time that the FTC has given a favorable advisory opinion to a clinical integration program and the first time in five years.
GRIPA has been developing this program, called GRIPA Connect™ Clinical Integration, over the past two years. The initiative is focused on improving the quality of health care and access to care, while curbing costs. The goal of GRIPA Connect Clinical Integration is to create a connected community of physicians, hospitals, labs and imaging facilities which will share electronic access to patient information.
“The Federal Trade Commission’s staff opinion issued today on our plans for GRIPA Connect Clinical Integration indicates that the FTC does not intend to challenge our program, which includes our negotiating payer contracts on behalf of our members, and lets us move forward,” said Gregg Coughlin, GRIPA President. “We believe that GRIPA Connect Clinical Integration will return Rochester to being a national model for quality health care that’s affordable.”
As part of clinical integration, the physicians in the GRIPA Network are required, when medically appropriate, to adhere to Clinical Guidelines developed by the physicians themselves based on research into the best practices in the country.
GRIPA physicians will also have an easy-to-use, secure, web-based portal for access to patient information and electronic tools to act on that information, including such features as electronic prescribing, electronic lab test ordering and tracking of referrals between physicians. Security is paramount, with access to a patient’s record limited only to that patient’s care team.
A Health Information Exchange (HIE) — a virtual electronic network for physicians to securely collaborate with each other and the patients they’re treating — is at the heart of this effort. Patients will benefit because physicians will have easy access to more complete information and will be able to move more quickly and effectively to implement the best treatment plan. Physicians will have more time to spend with their patients because they will be able to spend less time looking for patient results and referral materials.
“Too often, physicians don’t have complete information about a patient,” said GRIPA Chief Medical Officer, Eric Nielsen, MD. “Whether it’s a list of the medications that a patient takes, lab results, or imaging studies, it’s imperative that physicians have a comprehensive view of all of the relevant information. We expect that having that information at the point of care will dramatically improve patient outcomes while reducing the cost of care.”
Visit the Advisory Opinions page on the FTC site. Read the FTC press release.
Download the GRIPA Advisory Opinion from the FTC.
GRIPA is a partnership of physicians and Rochester General Health System hospitals in Monroe and Wayne Counties and the Greater Rochester region, including private physicians and employed physicians on staff at Rochester General Hospital and Newark Wayne Community Hospital as well as Rochester General Physicians Organization and the Wayne County Physicians Organization. GRIPA has appeared three times on the Rochester Top 100 list. For more information visit www.gripa.org and www.gripaconnect.com.