A change for exchange

Intersystems retools its HealthShare, targeting IDNs

CAMBRIDGE, MA – When Farzad Mostashari, MD, the national coordinator for health IT, thinks about health information exchange (HIE), he's also thinking about grammar and parts of speech.

"Our goal is to advance exchange as a verb to support meaningful use and improve care coordination, not to support a particular model of exchange or organization type," he has written. "One of ONC’s key goals is to reduce the cost and complexity of exchange by putting in place the building-block standards, services and policies that are needed regardless of the exchange model."

That's a way of thinking that's shared by InterSystems, the developer of integration and information systems technology. In May, the firm launched the latest version of HealthShare, its informatics platform, which enables interoperability and active analytics.

While HealthShare was conceived initially to serve public health information exchanges at the regional, state and national level, this new version has been retooled to deliver the more robust functionalities needed by integrated delivery networks (IDNs).

"Health information exchange," says Paul Grabscheid, InterSystem's vice president of strategic planning, is "a phrase that I think really sells the technology short."

HIE is evolving from "low-level transactional data transmission to much higher-level aggregation of patient information into comprehensive cross-episode records," he says. "HealthShare was re-architected with this in mind, enabling a new generation of patient records to be used for point-of-care and population health solutions."

Grabscheid notes how an IDN "can be much more targeted in its use of technology, using HealthShare to deliver information within the organization’s existing applications where it can be a natural part of the clinician’s workflow. IDNs are also better positioned to make immediate use of analytics as part of their efforts to improve outcomes and quality of care."

Moreover, he says, "because the needs of IDNs are quite varied and many view HealthShare as a platform on which to build and deploy unique solutions, we have created a more modular component-based structure that enables each IDN to select the HealthShare functions that most directly address their needs."

With ACOs and patient-centered medical homes demanding that patient data flow easily among care teams, payers and the government, he adds, there's no shortage of decision-makers, using any number of EHR systems and sharing information via a patchwork of different HIE systems. The fact that most clinical data is unstructured only complicates things.