Health Current, Arizona’s state-wide health information exchanges (HIE), has announced that it is now connected and exchanging data with HIEs in San Diego and Santa Cruz to enable patient information to follow them when patients receive healthcare while traveling between Arizona and these two California cities.
These connections are an extension of the Patient Centered Data Home (PCDH) initiative that was piloted in 2016 by three western HIEs through the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC), the national trade association of HIEs.
PCDH allows HIEs to exchange hospital admission, and discharge and transfer (ADT) notifications for patients living in one geographic area but receiving healthcare in another. By exchanging zip code data, participating HIEs can send and receive notifications on patients who are away from their home HIE or “data home.” These notifications can trigger the Exchange of patient information with a patient’s home HIE and the HIE where the patient is traveling, according to a press release announcing that the three HIEs have connected networks.
Health Current’s CEO Melissa Kotrys says the new connections demonstrate the value of PCDH. “In the pilot last year, we demonstrated the value and viability of this system of sending patient encounter alerts in real time among HIEs. These new connections are building on that success.”
Health Current has 358 active participating organizations throughout the state, reaching 8 million unique patients with clinical data. San Diego Health Connect links several large health systems in the San Diego area, including Sharp HealthCare, Scripps Health, Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, University of California-San Diego, Kaiser Permanente and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and enables the exchange of 3.2 million patient electronic health records. Santa Cruz HIE’s clinical network connects a large Independent Physician Association, two local hospitals, several County Health Clinics, County Detention, Mental Health, seven national and local reference labs, five imaging centers and several safety net clinics and more than 1.2 million web transactions occur each month on the HIE.
Dan Chavez, executive director of San Diego Health Connect, says there is a large population traveling between Arizona and the two California counties and connecting the Arizona and San Diego HIEs facilitates better patient care. “More complete patient information results in better care, and these connections ensure better information for patients who are traveling,” he said in a statement.
Bill Beighe, chief information officer of the Santa Cruz Health Information Exchange, said in a statement, “Many patient receive healthcare in different communities, depending on their healthcare needs, especially in California. PCDH provides a model for pulling together fragmented patient records, and I believe that we are only going to see this program continue to grow.”
Recent disasters, such as Hurricane
Harvey in Texas, have demonstrated the value that HIEs can provide to healthcare providers, as reported by Healthcare Informatics Managing Editor Mark Hagland in a recent article. As Hagland reported, Texas HIE leaders actively worked to support local healthcare providers caring for Texans impacted by the storm, and established HIE portals within the shelters.