The Massachusetts Health Information Highway (HIway), the statewide health information exchange (HIE), recently made its first HISP-to-HISP (health information service provider) connection. To talk about this milestone, Micky Tripathi, the president and CEO of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative (MAeHC) joins us on the Healthcare Informatics podcast.
Tripathi begins the podcast explaining what the significance of the connection between the Mass HIWay and eLINC, a private HIE that serves Winchester Hospital and Winchester Healthcare Associates IPA. Building network-to-network bridges that connect HISPs, Tripathi says, allows them to exchange information.
“In order for us to get complete coverage in the state as we can, we need to forge these kinds of relationships,” Tripathi says.
As for why Mass HIway went with eLINC for the first HISP-to-HISP connection, Tripathi says that HIE had a large number of users and closer to being ready than most others in the state. “eLINC represented a key area in the state, they had a large number of providers, and they were ready,” he says. After that (as of interview time), Mass HIway is planning to go live with connections to the Surescripts and eClinicalWorks HISP networks.
Later on in the interview, Tripathi talks about why building these bridges allows the HIE market to develop organically. “You can’t presume you are going to have a statewide HIE that will be the single source of health information exchange activities in the state,” he says. In turn, with this philosophy, Mass HIway has been able to connect with and attract a wide variety of providers and provider organizations – 160 in total, many of which include multiple care settings.
To close out the interview, Tripathi explains why private HIEs and public HIEs must work together. Furthermore, public HIEs should take the lead in helping these private HIEs connect with each other. Private HIEs, he notes, have bigger priorities within their network before they will concern themselves with connecting to others.
“What the Mass HIway does is it tells those private HIEs, ‘You don’t need to build a bridge yourself to connect with other private HIEs, you can use this service to connect those up,’” Tripathi says. As the grant money toward the public HIEs starts to fade away, he adds that those organizations need a business model and this kind of service provides that.
“The onus is on the public HIEs not to provide the service because no one else will, but for them to figure out how to provide that service in a way that the market appreciates it so they are around five years from now,” Tripathi concludes.