Four Key Findings for Health Data Exchange
This month we were proud to sponsor a webinar with the eHealth Initiative, where five experts from the health IT world sat down to discuss the outcomes of the 2014 Survey on Health Data Exchange. Three of the panelists from Intermountain Healthcare, Delaware Health Information Network and BayCare Health System are Medicity clients and they reacted to data from 125 health care organizations, including 74 community-based HIOs and 25 statewide efforts.
The discussion focused on four key findings:
Key barriers to interoperability include pricing and technical challenges.
Interoperability continues to be an obstacle for many health care organizations as they work to integrate with multiple EHR vendors – some organizations report constructing more than 25 separate interfaces. To solve the issue, respondents highlighted the need for standardized vendor cost and integration options, platforms capable of “plug and play,” and a common ground among providers when it comes to sharing data, vocabulary and transport.
Regulatory policies have prompted greater use of core HIE services.
Since Stage 2 Meaningful Use policies have been enacted, more survey respondents have implemented notification systems for better care transitions, Direct, secure messaging, exchange of lab results and public health reporting.
Advanced HIE capabilities lead to new payment and care delivery models.
106 respondents report that their organization has reached stage 5 (operating) or higher on the eHealth Initiative’s HIE maturity scale, an increase of 11 percent since the 2013 survey. With HIE maturity comes the ability to support new value-based care initiatives, including accountable care organizations, patient-centered medical homes, state innovation models and bundled payment initiatives.
Fees and membership dues are beginning to replace federal funding.
Of the organizations polled, 41 say that dues or fees are now their greatest revenue source. Even more organizations plan to join them, with 89 predicting that they’ll eventually rely on dues and fees as their primary revenue stream.
“HIE is Key to Their Success”
Panelists echoed the interoperability challenges presented in the survey and noted that while increased use of Direct is promising, it can also be an obstacle to true data exchange if providers rely on it too much. The experts also called on the government to regulate HIE standards, while noting that provider usability needs to remain a key priority. But most agreed that the survey results and current health IT landscape is encouraging. As Dave Grinberg, Deputy Executive Director of the Pennsylvania eHealth Partnership Authority remarked that he is “encouraged to see the stage advancement (of HIE) as well as the sustainability advancement,” saying that the increase in sustainability and care reform models suggest that organizations are “really understanding that HIE is key to their success.”