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North Carolina launches new stroke registry linked to NC HealthConnex

The North Carolina Health Information Exchange Authority, housed within the state’s Department of Information Technology, announced this week that it’s working North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services to launch the N.C. Stroke Registry.


The effort, which will depend on the state’s health information exchange, NC Health Connex, is designed to improve care coordination for stroke, which is the fourth leading cause of death in North Carolina and the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the announcement

To better connect healthcare statewide, identify areas where stroke care prevention or post-stroke care measures may be needed and address disparities in stroke care, the state-designated health information exchange’s new registry acts as critical infrastructure, Christie Burris, NC HIEA’s executive director, explained.

“By connecting to NC HealthConnex, data from a provider’s electronic health records can be leveraged to support chronic disease intervention and be used as a valuable tool for the public good,” said Burris in a statement.

“By acting as a health data utility, it provides a central hub for clinical data that can advance compatibility across networks and promote use cases, such as the stroke registry.”

Data from more than 10,000 North Carolina healthcare facilities feeds a dashboard where users – such as the state’s Division of Public Health – can search the prevalence of stroke by county and zip code, analyze comorbidities and identify trends based on race, age and other demographics.

“We’re not just capturing patient data from those hospitals that are very well-resourced but from everybody across the state, so we’re getting a more complete picture of stroke in our state,” said Anna Bess Brown, executive director of the Justus-Warren Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Task Force in a statement.

“We’ll get a certain level of data from the population level from [NC HealthConnex]; there’s no other device that can do that,” she said.


The project is funded by a grant from the Paul Coverdell National Acute Stroke Program and was built as a joint venture with the North Carolina Stroke Advisory Council, DPH and the NC HIEA and its technical partner, the SAS Institute, NCDIT says.

In 2019, the NC HealthConnex modernized, combining the InterSystems HealthShare HIE with SAS’s health analytics.

The collaboration made it possible for NC HealthConnex to improve interoperability between care settings and integrated analytics enhanced provider insights into the drivers behind particular conditions, she had said, noting that the data also fueled policymaker efforts to address system-wide improvements. 

“Healthcare providers often just exchange data without deep analysis, missing the opportunity to improve patient matching and learn more about the health of our communities,” Grant Brooks, vice president and director of state and local government solutions for SAS, said about the modernization effort.

State-supported efforts to leverage digital modernization technologies are proving that they can reduce stroke deaths by treating stroke patients faster.

Artificial intelligence is being deployed in more than 2,000 hospitals in more than 100 countries to save the lives of stroke and neurovascular patients, according to RapidAI, a platform that streamlines the stroke workflow.

“AI can help clinicians triage patients more quickly, choose which treatment pathway makes the most sense for that patient, determine if they have the right capabilities or need to transfer the patient and ultimately get patients to treatment faster,” he told Healthcare IT News in November.

In Australia, the SA Telestroke Service is using the Zeus cloud-based telehealth platform to treat patients with thrombectomy and is reportedly able to provide life-saving treatment up to 30 minutes faster. 

“Every minute counts with a stroke, and the faster we can deliver treatment, the better, to help save lives,” the SA Health Minister Christ Picton said in an announcement about the nation’s new stroke care service in February.


“Having this registry is providing us with data to explore areas of need in our state and to identify gaps in care so that we can address these issues,” Brown said in the announcement.

Andrea Fox is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Email: [email protected]

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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