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Hitting the Reset Button on California HIE

October 15, 2012
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CHeQ seeks to leverage synergies with population health improvement efforts

Healthcare executives in California have reason to be skeptical that another new organization leading statewide health information exchange programs will make faster progress than previous iterations. But the new team, let by the highly respected Kenneth Kizer, M.D., appears to be getting off on the right foot.

A few weeks ago Healthcare Informatics noted the changing of the guard at the state-level HIE in California, with the Institute for Population Health Improvement at the University of California at Davis taking over from Cal eConnect, the now-defunct nonprofit entity created to develop California's HIE.

On Oct. 11, leaders of the new HIE organization, California Health eQuality (CHeQ), gave some hints about their strategic priorities in a public eHealth stakeholders webinar. Kizer said his organization would seek to identify opportunities to leverage the synergies between HIE and other health improvement efforts that have their own funding streams. As examples, he mentioned population-based health efforts such as Medicare-Medicaid dual eligibles, VA-Medicare dual eligibles, and prison health populations. Other partnerships could involve conditions such as cancer and diabetes or settings of care such as emergency care.

“We will also create a California HIE ecosystem to nurture innovation and creativity and support deployment activities,” Kaiser said.

California continues to experiment with consent models for exchanging patient data. One ongoing demonstration project with opt-in consent has begun in the San Diego Beacon community. Data is being collected and patient surveys will begin soon. Two new projects will kick off soon, involving the Inland Empire HIE testing opt-out consent and the Santa Cruz HIE testing opt-out consent with an emergency exception. The experience of these pilots will inform statewide policy development.

Also during the stakeholder webinar, Dr. Linette Scott, chief medical information officer for the state Departmet of Healthcare Services, noted that total EHR incentive payments made in California have topped $775 million to date. The higher level of EHR adoption has already spurred significant change in the way care is delivered, she said, with increased standardization and completeness of care.

CHeQ is seeking nominations for a nine-person HIE advisory committee. Nominations are due by Oct. 26. For more information, see the CHeQ web site.