Online Program

HIV data sharing in North Carolina, next step: Electronic referrals

Monday, November 2, 2015

Heather Parnell, MSW, Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research, Duke University, Durham, NC
Renee Jensen, BS, Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research, Duke University, Durham, NC
Kristen Sullivan, PhD, MSW, MA, Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research, Duke University, Durham, NC
Miriam Berger, MPH, Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research, Duke University, Durham, NC
Jennifer Keller, MPH, Department of Internal Medicine \ Section on Infectious Diseases, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Winston Salem, NC
Shemeika McEachern, MPA, Division of Public Health, Noth Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Raleigh, NC
background: Engaging and retaining people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in continuous medical care is an important public health goal.  In the state of North Carolina, Ryan White Part B-funded agencies are required to use CAREWare for tracking medical and ancillary care services provided to PLWHA. These data are shared between clinics/agencies providing services to patients via CAREWare. NC-LINK, a HRSA-funded project, aims to increase the number of PLWHA in North Carolina in continuous care through innovative interventions; these interventions incorporate data sharing and electronic referrals between providers via CAREWare for retention and re-engagement efforts.

objective: Building upon the foundation of North Carolina CAREWare data sharing, NC-LINK worked to facilitate the use of CAREWare’s electronic referral feature in 2013 to improve the speed and ease of communications between providers working to retain and re-engage PLWHA in medical care.

methods: Regional and state-level patient navigators are trained in electronic referrals by the NC-LINK CAREWare Coordinator to facilitate their work of retaining and re-engaging PLWHA into continuous medical care. Ongoing data monitoring and technical assistance are also provided to ensure optimal use.

results: There have been a total of 3,545 electronic CAREWare referrals opened and 3,250 closed as of January 2015. The referrals have helped to facilitate the re-engagement of approximately 997 PLWHA back into medical care and determine the outcome of 1,372 more - for a total of 73% having definitive outcomes. 

conclusions:  Creating an electronic referral platform for patient navigation has been an important next step in utilizing HIV data systems to improve patient care and public health in North Carolina. Implementation of this process has created a streamlined, reliable, and reportable tracking system for receipt and processing of referrals, as well as improved the time management and efficiency of HIV patient navigators, thus improving HIV care delivery in North Carolina.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the use of electronic referrals for HIV retention and re-engagement in medical care. Identify the improved communication and efficiency of using electronic referrals. Demonstrate the ability to build upon data sharing with CAREWare in the North Carolina HIV provider community.

Keyword(s): HIV/AIDS, Information Technology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the research manager of the NC-LINK project that helped to create, implement, and evaluate the electronic referrals discussed in the abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.