Kansas is coming together as the state’s two major HIEs, Kansas Health Information Network (KHIN) and Lewis and Clark Information Exchange (LACIE) finalize an agreement to share their patient data on nearly three million lives. The agreement secures about $1 million in federal funding contingent on connecting the two systems to allow freer data exchange across a large number of providers.
“We should meet [the deadline] without any problem,” said Larua McCrary, KHIN Executive Director, to The Wichita Eagle. “The last thing either of us wants to do is turn on an exchange connection that doesn’t work well,” added LACIE chief Mike Dittemore. “There’s already enough in the news about health-related websites that don’t work well or do what they’re supposed to do.”
The agreement comes after the two organizations were able to work out certain trust issues that had prevented cooperation as recently as August. “We are hung up on the data-sharing agreement, and so that’s really what we’re continuing to try to work through,” McCrary said over the summer. “What our participants expect is that the data be used for purposes of treatment — and if it’s going to be used for anything else, we at least need to know what it’s going to be used for and approve of that, since we have no secondary data use policy in our state.” Dittemore countered by noting that “the agreement they’ve sent us said that basically if you were connected to an ACO, you couldn’t get data from KHIN” due to questions about how certain organizations would access analytics data for free.
After resolving the lingering issues, the two HIEs will be ready to flip the switch right after the Thanksgiving holiday, and are working on adding radiology image sharing to the system as soon as they choose a vendor for the project. “We know that health care is usually local,” Dittemore said. “Most people receive the majority of their health care within a 50 to 75 mile radius. But the data is global. It’s going to give more holistic information, especially for the provider in how they can work really wherever. They will be able to pull that information into an aggregated single record.”