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Friday, August 26, 2016 12:00 PM

In the News: The Status of Current and Future HIEs

Written by Dennis Sherba, Practice Director, Connected Community, Professional Services, Iatric Systems

 In the News: The Status of Current and Future HIEs

How do you get your industry information? Do you keep up with what's going on in the world of HIE? Or, do you only want to know about what's going on in your state? Either way, if you subscribe to industry publications, or set up Google alerts for "HIE" like I do, you probably couldn't help but notice all of the recent articles.

Some key messages caught my eye, so I thought I would highlight just a few here for your reading pleasure.

I'll group them into two categories — the positive, and the not-so-positive.

I'll start with The Positive:

Headline: 8.8 Million Patients Opt-In to New York Health Information Exchange by Patient EngagementHIT

The article reports "According to a public statement, approximately 62,000 provider users and millions of patients are now taking part in the statewide patient record look-up (sPRL), which allows providers to access patient data across the exchange. The HIE warehouses 40 million patient records and processes more than 2.8 million transactions per month."

It goes on to say, "This opt-in approach shows higher levels of patient engagement, with patients taking the initiative to facilitate better health data exchange between themselves and their providers."

I think this shows that given the right information, patients are choosing to take part in managing their own records, and participating in the HIE will go a long way to making the data available where it will be needed.

Headline: Health Information Exchange Produces Summit by Grand Rapids Business Journal   

This is a great example of collaboration across a state. Hosted by Great Lakes Health Connect (GLHC), it was open to anyone involved in the health care ecosystem.

According to the article, Doug Dietzman, GLHC’s executive director, said "the purpose of the summit is to get people together 'within their own community' to collectively look at ways to utilize HIEs to improve patient care and outcomes."

This next one falls in between the positive and not-so-positive, depending on how you feel about it.

Headline: Karen DeSalvo, M.D. Stepping Down as National Coordinator for Full-Time HHS Role by Healthcare Informatics

In the article by Healthcare Informatics, reactions to the news that Karen DeSalvo, M.D. was stepping down as the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology included comments from College of Healthcare Information Managament Executives (CHIME), president and CEO, Russell Branzell. He said:

“During her tenure heading the Office of the National Coordinator, Karen DeSalvo, M.D., has been instrumental in advancing adoption of health information technology and making interoperability and health information exchange a national priority. We appreciate the strong working relationship that ONC and CHIME have been able to forge over the past few years and our collective work to advance health IT policy and promote solutions that push the entire industry toward higher-value and better care. We look forward to continuing that collaborative approach with Vindell Washington, M.D., as he takes the helm at ONC.”

I'm sure that her replacement, Vindell Washington M.D., will work hard to continue the work started by Karen DeSalvo M.D.

The not-so-positive news about HIEs:

Headline: Value Remains a Problem for Health Information Exchanges by HealthIT Interoperability.

This article does a good job of laying out the problem that states face in making an HIE sustainable. It also offers some rationale on why some fail and some succeed, based on reasearch by University of Michigan professor and researcher, Julia Adler-Milstein, PhD. She also offers some insight into the role of EHRs in the HIE space.

Headline: Is HIE Headed in the Wrong Direction? by HealthIT Interoperability

This article talks about two studies that look at the decline in the number of HIEs (and the reasons), and the ability to sustain the HIEs going forward. It also expands on the role of EHRs and the study by Julia Adler-Milstein, PhD from the University of Michigan, mentioned in the previous article.

It's likely that your organization has connected to an HIE, or you are considering connecting, and there are things that you can do to help make that a success for your organization.

Our Senior Solutions Engineer, Michelle Schneider, recently hosted a webcast titled, "You've Connected to an HIE, Now What?" that discussed ways to get the maximum benefit out of an HIE once you've connected. If you have questions about how to do this, take a listen.

If you need help determining the best way to connect to an HIE, or to determine which HIE is right for you, this eBook also has some great tips.