A CEO’s Perspective on Health Information Exchanges

Defining a Health Information Exchange

The United States is facing the largest healthcare shortage ever in the country’s history. This is compounded by the ever increasing geriatric population. In 2005, there was only one geriatrician per 5 000 US citizens over 65, and only nine out of the 145 medical schools were trained geriatricians. By 2020 the industry is expected to be in short 200,000 physicians and over a million nurses. Visit:- https://caongua.vn/

Never, in the history of US healthcare has such a large amount been needed with such little staff. Because of this shortage combined with the increasing number of people living in geriatric homes, the medical community has to come up with a method to deliver timely, accurate information to the people who require it in a uniform way. Imagine if flight controllers could speak the language spoken by their country , instead of using the global flight languages, English. This illustration illustrates the urgency and crucial requirement for standardization of communication in healthcare. A healthy information exchange can aid in improving safety, reduce the duration of hospitalization as well as reduce the number of medication errors, eliminate repetition in lab testing and procedures, and help make the health system faster, leaner and more productive. The aging US population along with those affected by chronic diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and asthma will require see more specialists who will have to find a way to communicate with primary healthcare providers effectively and efficiently.

This efficiency can only be reached by standardizing the way that the exchange occurs. Healthbridge is which is a Cincinnati located HIE that is among the largest community-based networks, was able to reduce the likelihood of developing a disease from 5 to 8 days down to just 48 hours by implementing an inter-regional health information exchange. Concerning the standardization process, one writer noted, “Interoperability without standards is like language without grammar. In both cases communication can be achieved but the process is cumbersome and often ineffective.”

United States retailers transitioned over 20 years ago to automate sales, inventory, accounting controls which all boost efficiency and efficiency. Although it is uncomfortable to think of people as inventories, perhaps this has been part of the reason for the lack of change in the primary care setting to automation of the patient’s records and data. Imagine a Mom & Pop hardware store located in any part of mid America packed with inventory on shelves, placing orders for duplicate widgets based on lack of information regarding current inventory. Imagine every Home Depot or Lowes and you can see the impact of automation on the retail industry in terms of scalability and effectiveness. Perhaps the “art of medicine” is an obstacle to more effective modern, efficient and intelligent medical practices. Standards for information exchange were established in 1989, however, recent interfaces have developed more quickly due to improvements in the standardization of regional and state-wide health information exchanges.

History of Health Information Exchanges

Major cities that are located in Canada along with Australia have been the initial to successfully implement HIE’s. Their success with these initial networks was attributed to their integration with primary care EHR systems that were already in place. The Health Level 7 (HL7) represents the first standardization of health-related language program within the United States, beginning with an initial meeting on the University of Pennsylvania in 1987. The HL7 system has proven successful in replacing antiquated interactions like mailing, faxing, and direct provider communications, which can lead to duplicates and inefficiency. Process interoperability increases human understanding between health systems of networks to connect and communicate. Standardization will ultimately impact the efficiency of communication similarly to how grammar standards facilitate better communication. In the United States, the United States National Health Information Network (NHIN) is the one that sets the standards for this transmission of messages between health networks. HL7 is now on it’s third edition which was first released in 2004. The main goals of HL7 is to improve interoperability, create coherent standards, train the market on standardization and also collaborate with other sanctioning bodies such as ANSI and ISO which are also concerned with improving processes.

In the United States one of the first HIE’s to be established was in Portland Maine. HealthInfoNet is the result of a partnership between public and private and is thought to be the largest statewide HIE. The goals of the network are to enhance patient safety, enhance the quality of care provided by clinicians and efficiency, cut down on service duplication, identify the public threat more quickly, and improve access to patient records. The four founding groups , the Maine Health Access Foundation, Maine CDC, The Maine Quality Forum and Maine Health Information Center (Onpoint Health Data) began their efforts in 2004.

It was in Tennessee Regional Health Information Organizations (RHIO’s) started at Memphis along with the Tri Cities region. Carespark is which is a 501(3)c situated in the Tri Cities region was considered a direct project where clinicians communicate directly with one another through Carespark’s HL7-compliant system as an intermediary to translate the data bi-directionally. The Veterans Affairs (VA) clinics played a significant role in the early stages of building the network. In the delta, the midsouth eHealth Alliance is a RHIO connecting Memphis hospitals such as Baptist Memorial (5 sites), Methodist Systems, Lebonheur Healthcare, Memphis Children’s Clinic, St. Francis Health System, St Jude, The Regional Medical Center and UT Medical. These regional networks allow practitioners to exchange medical records, lab values of medicines, as well as other reports efficiently.

Seventeen US communities have been designated as Beacon Communities across the United States in relation to their implementation of HIE’s. The focus of these communities on health varies based on the patient population and the incidence of chronic disease-related illnesses i.e. asthma, diabetes, cvd. The communities are focused on specific and measurable improvements in health, safety and efficiency through health information exchange enhancements. The closest to the geographical Beacon town to Tennessee is located in Byhalia, Mississippi, just south of Memphis, was granted a $100,000 grant by Department of Health and Human Services in September 2011.

A model of healthcare for Nashville to emulate is located in Indianapolis, IN based on urban size, geographical proximity and population demographics. Four Beacon grants have been given to local communities within and around Indianapolis, Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County, Indiana Health Centers Inc, Raphael Health Center and Shalom Health Care Center Inc. In addition, Indiana Health Information Technology Inc has received over 23 million dollars in grants via the State HIE Cooperative Agreement and 2011 HIE Challenge Grant Supplement programs administered by the Federal Government. These grants were based on the following criteria.) Attaining health goals through health information exchange) Improving long term and post acute treatment transitions) Consumer mediated information exchange 4) Facilitating enhanced query for patients 5) Promoting distributed-level population analytics.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *