Population Health is top of mind for most healthcare IT leaders right now. Have you made moves to migrate your healthcare IT systems, or implement processes to help you with Population Health Management? If not, most likely, you are at least thinking about it, or doing some research on it.
There are several key components to Population Health Management. Some of these include patient matching, connecting to an HIE, and finally the actual work to make sure your systems are integrated and sharing data.
All of these things contribute to being able to analyze the data for a population, with the ultimate goal of improving overall care and patient outcomes.
It can be overwhelming (and costly) to tackle all of these strategies at once, so today I am going to focus on just one — Connecting to an HIE.
No matter which type of HIE you choose, there are some common things to consider before or during your planning or implementation. These are: Options, Timeframe, Team, and Strategy. Let’s look at each individually.
There are several types and options for HIEs. You could:
- Join your state HIE (if your state has one)
- Participate in a regional HIE
- Create your own
You also have to decide which type of HIE is right for you. Do you want federated, centralized, or a hybrid. It all depends on how you want to control your data. (Read this previous blog post that breaks down each HIE type).
Planning out all of the steps and actions required to get ready, and then implementing your connection to an HIE could take months (or longer).
Being as accurate as you can on how long each step will take, and what specific steps need to happen before moving to the next will be one of the keys to your success.
Because there are so many tasks, departments, and people to coordinate, make sure the deliverables and actions are clearly stated. This will then go into your strategy documentation.
This area should not be overlooked. It is important to have the right team and resources allocated to properly support your HIE strategy. Without the right team in place, it will be very difficult to meet your goals.
Some questions to answer:
- Have you identified and assigned the appropriate resources?
- Do you have people who can be dedicated to the project or are they working on several projects?
- Is each of their roles clearly defined?
- Do you have specific actions and deliverables to meet your goals?
All of the above steps culminate into forming your strategy (among many other things). It might be obvious to state it, but having a strategy documented and communicated before you begin implementation will save you time and effort down the road.
Some important pieces of the strategy include:
- Document the kind of data you want to access and use in the HIE
- Determine if you have a good patient matching system in place
- If you have an EMPI, have you done the due diligence to clean up your EMPI system? (see this previous blog post about how to get your EMPI duplication rate)
- Document, document, document!
These are just a few of the steps to consider when embarking on a project to join or create an HIE. For more information and to learn about other strategies to meet you Population Health Management goals, read this eBook: Top Challenges that Keep CIOs Up at Night – Population Health.