Nebraska | 50 states of population health

DANIEL DEBEHNKE, MD. CEO of Nebraska Medicine (Omaha)

On the top challenge

"Probably the biggest thing facing the communities and the people of Nebraska is access to healthcare. Specifically for us as an academic medical center, access to specialty care is a challenge for the state. Nebraska is a very expansive and rural state. Our state spans 500 miles from east to west, and there are many smaller communities and critical access hospitals across the state that have challenges with respect to access to specialty care."

On the hospital's response

"Our approach to this problem has been several-fold. With such a large state, it is difficult to obtain boots-on-the-ground access to specialists, so we've taken a technology-enabled approach. We've extended 13 specialties through telehealth to about 13 rural and regional communities through our telehealth platform, and we serve approximately 3,000 to 4,000 patients a year through this platform.

The other approach, which I think is a fairly unique, is we've taken the opportunity to extend our version of our EHR, Epic, to ambulatory practices and community hospitals throughout the state. We've extended this technology to over 60 clinics servicing about 170 physicians across the state. That helps those clinics in several ways.

It obviously helps them from a financial standpoint, defraying costs they would incur if they were to try to install an EHR themselves. It also helps them with many of the regulatory issues around MACRA and MIPS. We've also just started to extend the inpatient version of our EHR to regional partners and health systems. We are currently doing that with two health systems and a third is in process. This connection, through our HER, allows for ease of access to vital healthcare information for the patients we share between institutions."

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