Providers in Ohio are working together to provide health information exchange (HIE) capabilities that now cover the vast majority of the state’s patient lives, says a new issue brief by the Center for Health Affairs that highlights the region’s achievements. With 90% of hospitals and more than 1000 physician providers participating in some sort of data exchange framework, including the state’s CliniSync HIE, approximately 87% of Ohio residents now fall under a data exchange umbrella in some way.
“Federal investments in developing an electronic infrastructure for storing and sharing health records seem to be paying off,” the brief says. “As physicians and health systems come closer to meeting the next stage of meaningful use standards, many are relying on statewide partnerships to sort out the technological details of transferring medical records between providers.”
HIE is a critical component of Stage 2 Meaningful Use, and despite the low initial attestation numbers, a great many hospitals have been investing in building partnerships within their communities, throughout their state, and even across borders. “The overarching benefit of health information exchange is the ability to get information to a physician or other clinician at the point of care, when and where the primary care doctor, emergency room physician or nurse practitioner needs it – despite the patient’s disparate geographic visits to different hospitals, clinics or practices,” CliniSync explained in a recent report.
The system is currently able to exchange lab and pathology data, radiology reports, referral information, allergy lists, care summaries, and care plans, as well as discharge summaries and progress notes. The HIE is currently in the process of adding admission and discharge notifications from hospitals, as well. CliniSync integrates hospitals, physician providers, long-term care facilities, behavioral health providers, public health agencies, and commercial labs into a widely interoperable network that eases data transfer due to commonly held technical standards.
“In many ways Ohio’s health information exchange is a micro version of what the country hopes to achieve; wherein health records follow the patient regardless of their geographic location,” the brief adds. “True interoperability means using different systems and software to exchange data across clinicians, labs, hospitals, pharmacies, and patients no matter what system or application is being used. As more vendors and providers form agreements as those in Ohio have, the momentum to develop a national HIE becomes even greater.”