Women’s Health Connecticut joins CTHealthLink: Partnership Provides Opportunities to Address Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Women’s Health

CTHealthLink (CTHL), the Connecticut State Medical Society’s (CSMS) robust health information exchange and analytics platform, announced today that Women’s Health Connecticut has joined the network.

Serving nearly 300,000 patients annually across 85 locations, Women’s Health Connecticut is the largest provider of obstetrics and gynecology services in the state. Founded in 1997, the organization has a long-standing reputation for data-driven innovations in care delivery. It works closely with its partner physicians to create programs and protocols designed to streamline quality and access, for every patient seen. Matthew Saidel, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Women’s Health, observed: “Because our doctors work in 21 hospitals across the state and collaborate with other acute care facilities such as the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center network, all with disparate health information systems, a health information exchange will serve a vital function in coordination of care for our patients”

Improving health equity is a major impetus for the partnership between Women’s Health and CTHealthLink. Women of color are at greater risk of both the incidence of and mortality associated with female cancers such as breast and cervical cancer, and are at greater risk of negative outcomes during pregnancy and childbirth. “We currently have lots of information pointing to disparities in outcomes for Black and Latina women; however, insight into the reasons for these disparities and how to address them is lagging,” said Robert Aseltine PhD, CTHealthLink Board Chair and professor at UConn Health. In a study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology Aseltine and colleagues, including Mark DeFrancesco, MD, former chief medical officer of Women’s Health Connecticut and Past President of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), reported that Black women in Connecticut were twice as likely and Hispanic women one and a half times more likely than White women to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of childbirth. “The statewide hospital claims data we analyzed provided a very clear indication of a significant disparity, but few clues as to why Black and Hispanic women experienced poorer outcomes.

The integrated clinical data providers will have access to through CTHealthLink, which combines information from outpatient settings with hospital data across different EHR platforms, has the potential to provide a much better understanding of what’s driving these disparities and how they can be addressed.”

Improving outcomes for patients of color is a shared focus of the organizations participating in CTHealthLink. Women’s Health CT actively lobbies for and participates in multiple legislative committees around equitable care for women and, in 2020, established its own working group to better understand and more proactively address these issues. Partnering with the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, they have implemented universal screening for Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and imbedded patient advocates in offices across their network. IPV is the most frequent cause of maternal mortality in Connecticut including women of color.

The Connecticut State Medical Society has long been a leader in addressing racial, ethnic, and economic disparities. CSMS spearheaded multi-year research studies examining racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare and has supported legislative efforts at both state and federal levels that look to eliminate healthcare disparities. CSMS provides its physicians with awareness and education on the vital role physicians play in eliminating racial, ethnic and economic disparities in healthcare.

“Individually these efforts are impressive, but collectively they offer a terrific opportunity to improve the health of underserved patients in Connecticut,” said Greg Shangold, MD, President of CSMS. “As large organizations like Women’s Health CT join CTHealthLink, Connecticut moves closer to realizing the promise that health information exchange holds for improving health.”

About CTHealthLink
CTHL is a physician-led health information network, offered by CSMS in partnership with KONZA, Inc. CTHL offers a suite of health information technology tools to help health professionals share patient information over a secure network, while employing powerful analytic reports designed to help guide medical policy, improve clinical outcomes, reduce inefficiencies, positively impact patient safety and protect private patient medical information. CTHL currently includes patient information from most hospitals in the state including Yale New Haven Health and Hartford HealthCare, and recently welcomed Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and the Connecticut Children’s Care Network as the first integrated delivery system to join an exchange in Connecticut. Nationally CTHealthLink is connected to CVS Health and Minute Clinics, the Veterans Administration, the Department of Defense, DaVita Health, Fresenius Medical Care and Premise Health. CTHealthLink is a member of the KONZA National Network which allows CTHealthLink participants to access data from across the nation.

About Connecticut State Medical Society
One of the nation’s oldest medical societies, the Connecticut State Medical Society (CSMS) was founded in 1792 and serves thousands of physicians across the state. The mission of CSMS is to be the voice of all Connecticut physicians; to lead physicians in advocacy; to promote the profession of medicine; to improve the quality of care; and to safeguard the health of our patients. For more information visit http://www.csms.org.

About KONZA, Inc.
KONZA, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that provides physician-led health information exchange and data analytics services in 9 US states. KONZA builds upon a proven model for the development of the technical infrastructure necessary to enable the sharing of clinical information at the point of care, while supporting transformative value-based payment models, care management, and data analytics. Patients, physicians, healthcare facilities, and other healthcare providers from across the country benefit from KONZA's delivery of unequaled actionable intelligence.