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Utah HIE Links Three Western Health Information Exchanges

Utah’s state-designated HIE recently connected with health information exchanges in Idaho, Nevada, and Nebraska to improve care coordination across the West.

Health Information Exchange

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- The Utah Health Information Network (UHIN) recently linked with three other health information exchanges across the West in an effort to facilitate the exchange of admission, discharge, and transfer (ADT) notifications for individuals who visit a healthcare facility in another state.

Most recently, UHIN connected with the Idaho Health Data Exchange (IHDE).

The connection between these two HIEs follows a trend of similar health information exchange connections forged as part of the Patient Centered Data Home (PCDH) initiative.

PCDH is headed by the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC), which is designed to enable health data exchange across Arizona, Nevada, Nebraska, Idaho, Utah, and western Colorado.

A national trade association of HIEs, SHIEC comprises over 50 member organizations. The association assists in facilitating secure health data exchange for hospitals, healthcare providers, and other participants across the country.

Queries issued through PCDH between HIEs regarding a patient’s status are based on the patient’s home zip code. Primary care physicians can coordinate care across state lines through the initiative.

 “I am so excited that the IHDE and UHIN are connected,” said Family First Medical Center’s Dr. Boyd Southwick, MD. “This will mean so much to me and my patients in the coordination of their care.  I have many patients who I refer to the University of Utah Medical Center.”

By engaging in the PCDH, primary care physicians will now receive an ADT notification whenever residents of Idaho receive medical treatment in Utah or any other participating state through an alert sent to IHDE.

“The data sharing opportunities that this will allow between me and other providers in Utah who are treating my patients will really enhance treatment and follow-up care,” said Southwick, who specializes in osteopathic medicine. “This is a huge step towards progress in patient care activities when patients frequently go across state lines for care.”

PCDH has facilitated the exchange of over 31,000 ADTs since the program’s launch in the spring of 2016.

“We’ve known for many years that Idahoans come to Utah for medical treatment,” said UHIN President and CEO Teresa Rivera. “Nearly 300,000 residents of Idaho are in UHIN’s Master Patient Index. In the first 20 minutes after the connection began, 30 ADTs were sent between our HIEs.”

UHIN gained funding for the connection to Idaho’s HIE through a supplemental grant of almost $625,000 awarded by ONC in 2016.

Utah’s state-designated HIE is also using its 2016 ONC funding to making connections with other states in the area. 

According to a recent SHIEC press release, UHIN recently linked with both the Nebraska Health Information Initiative (NeHII) and HealtHIE Nevada in an effort to implement the PCDH solution and increase coordinated care between the states.

“We are thrilled to join with UHIN and HealtHIE Nevada in implementing the Patient Centered Data Home solution so that we can assure Nebraskans their medical records will follow them when traveling to Utah to ski or enjoying a fun-filled weekend in Nevada,” said NeHII Chief Executive Officer Deb Bass. “This is the first exciting step in connecting with other HIEs across the country to support nationwide exchange of health records.”

Last month, seven HIEs joined forces to develop and test PCDH as part of the Heartland Project.

Great Lakes Health Connect (GLHC) in Michigan connected to six other HIEs to improve data sharing for patients and providers and invite further participation in the PCDH program.

ONC and SHIEC jointly launched the Heartland Project as a collaborative pilot program to improve interoperability across the Midwest. 

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