Monday, August 24, 2009

Health Information Exchange

What is #HIE anyway? Surfing through the alphabet soup of healthcare acronyms can be confusing, but HIE generally means Health Information Exchange.

Electronic Health Records do not do much good if they are trapped in disparate silos that are unable to communicate with each other. To have 'meaningful use' of and Electronic Health Record (EHR) we need to develop Health Information Exchange (HIE). HIE will provide the capability to electronically move clinical information among disparate health care information systems while maintaining the meaning of the information being exchanged. The goal of HIE is to facilitate access to and retrieval of clinical data to provide safe, efficient and effective, timely, and fair, patient-centered care. HIE will also be useful to Public Health authorities to help in analyses of the health of the population.

Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) is being developed to provide a secure, nationwide, interoperable health information infrastructure that will connect providers, consumers, and others involved in supporting health and healthcare. A key aspect to health IT implementation will be ensuring that State and regional efforts to achieve health information exchange are aligned with the national health IT agenda. The recent announcement of funding for state and regional HIE efforts puts some real flesh on the bones of these plans.

In Oregon this past year major state health reform was passsed with
House Bill 2009. Withe this bill the Oregon Health Authority has been created and Dr. Bruce Goldberg has been appointed by Governor Kulongoski as its Director. HB 2009 also established the Health Information Technology Oversight Council (HITOC). The HITOC will coordinate Oregon's public and private statewide efforts in electronic health records adoption and the eventual development of a statewide system for electronic health information exchange.

In our area we are creating Gorge Health Connect (GHC) composed of area healthcare stakeholders including
La Clinica del Carino Community Family Health, Mid-Columbia Medical Center, Oregon North Central Public Health District, Mid-Columbia Center for Living. Some of our goals are regional adoption of health information technology and an interoperable health information exchange. We want to enhance the health of all citizens, creating a health information system that supports provider management of chronic and complex conditions across all sites of care, increases consumer resources to more effectively manage their health, and improves coordinated care and the timely reporting of communicable diseases.

One example of a successful community HIE is HealthBridge, a not-for-profit HIE serving Greater Cincinnati and surrounding areas. HealthBridge is one of the four organizations highlighted in a national report "Migrating Toward Meaningful Use: The State of Health Information Exchange" released by eHealth Initiative,(on Twitter @eHealthDC) a national nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health care through information technology. They will also be in Spokane Washington September 10-11 for the Northwest Medical Informatics Symposium. Spokane is also on of three Consumer Managed Health Record Bank pilot projects in Washington. I have written about Health Record Data Banks, but we are unsure in the gorge area of which model for HIE we will use. 
NMIS looks to be an exciting conference, but unfortunately I will be unable to attend (I will be in Washington D.C. at the Gov 2.0 Summit)

To see exciting developments check out the CONNECT Community Portal, an open source gateway to the NHIN. The CONNECT Seminar 09 was a great success this year. Conference speakers included Aneesh Chopra, the White House CTO, R. Scott Gould, Deputy Secretary, Veteran’s Affairs, Dr. David Blumenthal, the National Coordinator for Health IT, Vish Sankaran, FHA program director, Wounded Warrior advocate Sarah Wade, and Brian Behlendorf, an authority on the open source community. Videos from this event can be found at: CONNECT Seminar Videos