Activity in the world of health information exchange (HIE) is accelerating rapidly now in many quarters, as the shift towards value-based healthcare delivery and payment is bringing the payers, purchasers, and providers of care, as well as public health agencies and state governments, and groups representing consumers, together, to share key data and information, in order to improve care. Of course, some HIE organizations have been working steadily on advances for years now.
One HIE that has years of experience under its collective belt is the Utah Health Information Network (UHIN). Incorporated back in 1993, UHIN has been innovating for some time. And, as of this moment, 100 percent of the hospitals in the four largest health systems operating in the state of Utah (HCA, IASIS, Intermountain, and the University of Utah health systems), totaling 90 percent of the state’s 50 hospitals, are actively participating in data exchange within the HIE. What’s more, UHIN is sending out 2,000 ADT notifications per day, a very large number, considering the state’s total population of approximately 3 million.
As the organization notes on its website, “UHIN positively impacts healthcare through reduced costs, improved quality, and better results by fostering data-driven decisions. A nonprofit founded in 1993, we offer affordable tools that allow providers, payers, and patients to safely exchange clinical information, claims and reports electronically.” The website statement adds that “As a full-service clearinghouse, we exchange all HIPAA transactions, including claims, remittance advice, acknowledgement reports, detailed claim status reports, eligibility, and enrollment requests. We also operate the Clinical Health Information Exchange (cHIE), allowing doctors and patients to work together for safer, better-coordinated care by making crucial information available to doctors at the point of care. UHIN is a Standards Development Organization actively participating with national electronic transaction committees. We share the knowledge we gain throughout the healthcare community through events and education sessions.”
UHIN adds, on its website, “We have also joined forces with our HIE colleagues in Arizona and western Colorado to form a Patient-Centered Data Home. This PCDH enables providers using any one of the three HIEs to receive electronic notifications and patient summaries when their patients have an encounter across state lines at a hospital in one of the other HIEs’ network.”
UHIN’s leaders are moving forward across a broad range of areas of activity, among them, fulfilling the terms of a grant from the federal Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). That grant, in the amount of $3,132,029, involves eight different projects, with 52 strategic goals—of which UHIN has already met 50. It also involves the data of over 1 million patients, and 28 hospitals and over 300 eligible providers, and five community partners: the Utah Department of Health, the University of Utah Department of Bioinformatics, the University of Utah Department of Nursing, Intermountain Healthcare, and Health Insight. Among the several key areas focused on: providing for the electronic exchange of behavioral health referrals and information with those of physical health referrals; creating an effective patient care summary for transitions from hospital to long-term care; providing patient access to the HIE to allow patients to see an aggregated view of community data, and for patients to deliver standard clinical care summaries to their providers; a program to increase ADT notifications across entire communities; a program to create a statewide provider directory resource for payers, providers, and patients; and a rural community initiative to expand HIE across a particularly underserved rural area within the state.
In the week prior to the September 26 UHIN Annual HIT Conference, UHIN’s president and CEO, Teresa Rivera, spoke with Healthcare Informatics Editor-in-Chief Mark Hagland, regarding the organization’s direction and current initiatives. Below are excerpts from that interview.
How long have you been with the organization?
I’ve been with UHIN for ten years now.
And the organization goes back to 1993, making it one of the longest-lived successful HIEs created back then. That really was very early in the current history of health information exchange.