Health Information Exchange organizations in Nebraska, Nevada and Utah have connected to exchange admission, discharge and transfer (ADT) notifications for patients in those three states to increase care coordination by ensuring health records follow patients regardless of where treatment occurs.
The connections between the Omaha-based Nebraska Health Information Initiative (NeHII), HealtHIE Nevada, based in Las Vegas, and UHIN, the state-designated HIE in Utah, are the latest step in implementing a Patient Centered Data Home (PCDH) solution, according to a press release issued by the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC).
Also, UHIN announced it is connecting with the Idaho Health Data Exchange (IDHE) to exchange admission, discharge and transfer (ADT) notifications for patients who live in one of the states but have a medical encounter in the other state.
The IDHE-UHIN connection is the latest in a growing HIE-to-HIE hub expanding across the West. Known as the PCDH, and spearheaded by SHIEC, the hub allows data to be exchanged across six western states. Through the connection with UHIN, Idahoans experiencing a medical event in Arizona, Nevada, Nebraska or western Colorado will have their data sent to their primary care physician in Idaho.
SHIEC is the national trade association of health information exchanges (HIEs) and strategic business and technology partners. Since its inception in spring 2016, the PCDH has exchanged more than 31,000 ADTs, the organization has reported.
Through this HIE-to-HIE hub, when a patient living in one of the states has a medical encounter in one of the other participating states, an alert is sent to the patient’s home state HIE. Primary care physicians participating in that HIE then receive an ADT notification, and can query their system for the patient’s record. That initial query from HIE to HIE is based on the patient’s zip code, according to the SHIEC press release.
About the new connections, Boyd Southwick, D.O., Family First Medical Center, Idaho Falls, said in a statement. “This will mean so much to me and my patients in the coordination of their care. I have many patients who I refer to the University of Utah Medical Center. The data sharing opportunities that this will allow between me and other providers in Utah who are treating my patients will really enhance treatment and follow-up care. This is a huge step towards progress in patient care activities when patients frequently go across state lines for care.”
“The increase of interstate clinical information exchange is an enormous step for IHDE and UHIN to provide access to real-time data that providers in Idaho and Utah can use for patient care,” Julie Lineberger, interim executive director, IHDE, said.
There are many reasons patients living in one state seek care across state lines. For some, the nearest hospital may be in a neighboring state or they require specialized care not available locally. Tourism and family relationships can also play a role.
“We’ve known for many years that Idahoans come to Utah for medical treatment,” Teresa Rivera, president and CEO of UHIN, said. “Nearly 300,000 residents of Idaho are in UHIN’s Master Patient Index. In the first 20 minutes after the connection began, 30 ADTs were sent between our HIEs.”
Rivera added, “Utah has patients from all over the country coming to our local hospitals for specific treatment. For example the University of Utah Burn Center and the Huntsman Cancer Institute serve a vital role for specific populations regardless of where the person lives. These cross-border connections allow primary care physicians to better coordinate care across the care continuum.”
Deb Bass, chief executive officer of NeHII, said in a prepared statement, “We are thrilled to join with UHIN and HealtHIE Nevada in implementing the Patient Centered Data Home solution so that we can assure Nebraskans their medical records will follow them when traveling to Utah to ski or enjoying a fun-filled weekend in Nevada. This is the first exciting step in connecting with other HIEs across the country to support nationwide exchange of health records.”
“HealtHIE Nevada is proud to be part of this exciting collaborative that will allow clinicians from throughout the participating region to access patient data in a timely manner. This collaborative brings to reality exactly what health information exchanges were designed to do – provide clinicians with relevant information about the patient’s clinical history,” Leslie Johnstone, vice president of operations, Nevada at HealthInsight, said in a statement.
Funding for this expansion was made possible by a supplemental grant awarded to UHIN in 2016 from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). The nearly $625,000 award is supplemental to a $2.6 million ONC interoperability grant UHIN received in 2015. Additional connections with other HIEs in the West are currently under way.