Health Information Exchanges (HIEs), referring both to the organization and specific technology, can do much to help close the gap in healthcare delivery. In fact, HIEs may hold the key to advancing interoperability. From a technological perspective, HIEs are engineered to do the heavy lifting when it comes to data roll up, making them an essential population health partner. From an organizational perspective, HIEs have the heft and political capital to handle the interpersonal role of gaining access to a population’s PHI in aggregate, convincing doc practices and hospitals that rolling up this data is for the greater good of a town, a county, a state even.
HIEs are healthcare’s great hope for interoperability, and also the entry point to its biggest conundrum, namely what do we do with all this data? The answer to this question is simple. Utilize technology to bridge the last mile between data and clinicians, securely sharing this data with the people that can do the most with it. Notify providers when their patients present in the ER. Prevent readmissions and over-utilization of the healthcare system in real-time by alerting care teams when a patient is being admitted, discharged, or transferred between care settings. Identify and address unattributed patients to the benefit of patient satisfaction and the best possible cost to care. And so forth
According to Kyle Murphy, PhD, of EHR Intelligence (How a Lack of EHR Interoperability Hinders Care Coordination, August 17, 2015), hospitals are clamoring for this level of interoperability. In some cases, these hospitals and providers are using manual processes to reduce costs and achieve a better level of care for their patients.
You can probably guess by my job title how I feel about interoperability. Here at Cureatr, we are bridging that last mile…from the data to the doctor…by building what’s now an everyday bridge (ala mobile devices). Cureatr’s network of Care Transition Notifications connects clinicians and care managers in real-time to the data they need to serve their patients. That data can be sourced directly from EMRs or it can come through a successful partnerships built with clinical data aggregators such as HIEs, RHIOs, large IDNs and regional health systems.
Interoperability is our present and our future in healthcare. In many locations, the pieces are in place. The challenges we face really aren’t burrowed down in the depths of technology. Success will come from mindsets focused around collaboration and thinking in terms of ‘how can we solve this’ not ‘here’s why we can’t solve this’. Now, working together, we need to commit to closing the gap.