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Patient-Centered Data Home Initiative to Drive Nationwide HIE

The patient-centered data home will help facilitate health information exchange across state lines through a pilot program involving three regional HIEs.

By Sara Heath

Three members of the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC) have come together to form a patient-centered data home (PCDH) initiative, which could better facilitate interstate health information exchange (HIE), the group recently announced.

The PCDH initiative works by sending out episode alerts to participants of the program. These episode alerts notify providers that a patient has sought medical care outside of their regional, or “home,” HIE, and will direct providers on where to send patient data. This HIE will be query-based, allowing providers real-time access to the health data.

This initiative will reportedly help participating providers deliver better patient-centered care by allowing them to consult actual patient data to inform their decisions. The HIEs involved in PCDH are Arizona Health-e Connection (AzHeC), Quality Health Network (QHN), and Utah-based UHIN.

According to AzHeC leaders, PCDH will help promote the “no wrong door” policy, which states that health data should be available regardless of where a patient seeks care.

“The concept is focused on providers having access to real-time data wherever a patient may present for care by providing information across state lines and disparate health care systems,” said Dick Thompson, Executive Director and CEO for QHN.

“HIEs share common borders and common patients, and we are able to share information on these patients when they are away from their home zip code, bridging gaps in information and enabling more comprehensive patient records.”

PCDH heavily relies on the structure of SHIEC, which is a nationwide consortium of independent, regional HIEs. Because these regional HIEs all buy into a nationwide governance, they are able to better share data across state lines.

“SHIEC’s members have well-established relationships that enable the more formal governance and trust relationships required for secure information exchange across state lines and anywhere patients receive care,” said AzHeC CEO Melissa Kotrys.

Thompson shared similar sentiments, explaining that PCDH shows the kind of power a nationwide partnership of HIEs can work to improve patient care.

“This project has worked through a number of critical issues to build and enhance patient-centered data homes and offers an excellent example of the real potential of SHIEC. The SHIEC membership is excited to move ahead with the PCDH concept to improve the care for the more than 100 million lives the member organizations represent,” Thompson explained.

The PCDH initiative is only expected to grow. Through numerous similar pilots occurring throughout the nation, HIE experts expect to see more interstate health information exchange moving forward.

“This concept is being implemented in several pilots, which have addressed and resolved legal/policy issues as well as the technical issues of real-time HIE-to-HIE notifications,” the press released stated. “In this model all clinical data becomes part of the comprehensive longitudinal patient record in the patients’ data home, which is the community health information exchange (HIE) where the patient resides.”

SHIEC specifically expects to see more of its members participating in PCDHs, including the following:

  • State Health Alliance Records Exchange – SHARE (Arkansas)
  • MyHealth Access Network (Oklahoma)
  • IHIE (Indiana)
  • Michiana Health Information Network Healthlinc (Bloomington IN)
  • Great Lakes Health Connect
  • HealthBridge
  • Kentucky Health Information Exchange
  • East Tennessee Health Info Network

If successful, the PCDH initiative will be a major step forward for nationwide health information exchange, which has been a goal for the healthcare industry.

At the end of last year, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Karen DeSalvo addressed a bipartisan committee for interoperability, explaining that her office is putting a major emphasis on achieving nationwide HIE soon in the future.

"We have built through the hard work of the private sector, of states, of support from the HITECH Act, an infrastructure in this country where essentially every state has an information highway," DeSalvo explained. "And in some communities as I mentioned, like Maryland, are already connected across state line. Our goal is to see that we can connect that highway, including the health information exchanges but also the private sector exchanges, in the entire country within a year."

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