How a Health Information Exchange Consortium Helped Cut Costs

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By Hannah Nelson

– Whereas Alaska is bodily faraway from the continental United States, the state’s well being info change (HIE), healtheConnect Alaska, has joined a well being IT consortium that connects them with stateside HIEs to save lots of prices and promote innovation.

The HIE joined CRISP Shared Providers, a collaborative of the Maryland statewide HIE and the HIE in Washington DC.

“Geographically on the floor, it does not appear like it is sensible,” Laura Younger, government director of healtheConnect Alaska, stated in an interview with EHRIntelligence.

Nonetheless, whereas Alaska will not be prone to share sufferers with HIEs positioned within the continental US, healtheConnect Alaska shares comparable values and expertise with CRISP Shared Providers, Younger defined.

The choice to attach comes as HIEs throughout the nation see their monetary sources shortly drying up, as some federal help allotted by way of the HITECH Act is about to expire within the coming months.

READ MORE: AK Well being Info Change Consortium Boosts Interoperability

“The HITECH program actually pushed the HIEs to be revolutionary they usually type of rewarded us with {dollars} for doing that,” Younger defined. “With that program going away, I believe that a whole lot of the longer term improvements are actually going to be born out of collaboratives like this, the place we’re working collectively on an answer that we are able to all share after which possibly even give to others.”

That funding problem compounds when taking a look at such a rural place like Alaska. HIEs are essential to rural healthcare as a result of they assist join sufferers receiving care in smaller distant facilities or within the few bigger organizations that anchor rural areas. However regardless of that significance, rural HIEs are in a novel monetary place.

“In Alaska, we’ve got a really small inhabitants,” Younger defined. “We’re attempting to do the identical issues a few of these larger states are doing with expertise, however we’ve got much less inhabitants and {dollars} to help it.”

healtheConnect joined within the business development towards healthcare consolidation, choosing an HIE consortium. In contrast to an HIE acquisition or merger, which has its personal professionals and cons, Younger stated becoming a member of a consortium allowed for native governance and upkeep of healtheConnect’s values.

“Alaska may be very aware of being Alaska-centric, and so we actually had to take a look at a collaboration that was going to permit us to be Alaska with out giving up our id,” Younger famous.

READ MORE: Well being Info Exchanges Kind Consortium for Interoperability

“The CRISP Shared Providers group has some comparable applied sciences too, so it meant that we did not must do a whole migration to a complete different expertise platform,” she continued. “We will preserve a whole lot of the issues that we have already constructed. For us, it was actually about how we might be the least disruptive when it comes to any adjustments that we made.”

CRISP Shared Providers presents knowledge in a grasp affected person index that has a number of lives in it for every state’s HIE, permitting for the organizations to share expertise prices.

Younger additionally defined that healtheConnect will profit from the consortium from an innovation standpoint.

“Well being info exchanges have been occurring over 10 years now and we’re all discovering that we’ve got some widespread issues to unravel,” stated Younger. “The concept behind it’s to come back collectively to share expertise concepts, sources, and greatest practices round well being info change.”

Younger defined that the HIEs have a whole lot of thrilling initiatives up their sleeves that healtheConnect Alaska is keen to be taught from within the pursuit of EHR optimization. Moreover, Younger famous that healtheConnect Alaska seems ahead to bringing its personal experience in behavioral well being knowledge change and lab knowledge sharing to the collaboration.

READ MORE: AMA Increasing EHR Coaching, Medical Schooling Consortium

“It actually really is a collaborative the place we’re sharing greatest practices and concepts and studying,” she stated.

COVID-19 highlighted the significance of knowledge analytics to shortly present inhabitants snapshots from a monitoring perspective, Younger defined.

Going ahead, Younger stated that she believes well being IT will proceed to maneuver into the interoperability sphere via extra knowledge dashboards and additional knowledge aggregation.

Moreover, entry to knowledge that offers holistic inhabitants insights can enhance care coordination and inhabitants well being.

“HIEs that may assist present that kind of knowledge are going to achieve success, so that is the kinds of improvements we’re actually wanting ahead to incorporating on this partnership,” Younger concluded. “It isn’t one thing that we’re doing a whole lot of immediately and we’re positively very a lot wanting ahead to with the ability to do much more of that inhabitants administration with the info that we’ve got.”

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