Hawaii says 'aloha' to HIE expansion

HIBC expanding the region's first HIE
By Erin McCann
02:16 PM
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Following a successful pilot phase initiated last December, officials at the Hawai'i Island Beacon Community announced Monday that they will be expanding the region's first health information exchange in partnership with the North Hawai'i Community Hospital. 

Officials say the HIE, provided by Alere Wellogic, facilitates safer, more efficient and cost-effective care within the connected healthcare community across Hawai'i Island. It enables doctors to easily view and share patient records from participating hospitals, doctors' offices, imaging centers, pharmacies, laboratories and other practices. It also facilitates secure doctor-to-doctor messaging for referrals and consultations, and establishes the foundation for care coordination across the region. 

The HIE will also be able to connect to other regional HIEs and, eventually, the Nationwide Health Information Network, officials note.

[See also: Hawaii invests $20M in electronic records.]

"The Hawai'i Island Beacon project is all about building a better system of health care delivery by providing better care and managing cost," Alere Wellogic's HIE is helping us reach this ambitious goal by improving the communication and coordination of clinical care and support services," said Susan Hunt, HIBC project director and CEO. "It has been a tremendous demonstration of what collaboration, technology, and community partnerships can achieve. We have accomplished a great deal in a relatively short period of time and are looking forward to next steps."

The HIE was designed in collaboration with the physicians and technology leadership at North Hawai'i Community Hospital, HIBC, Alere Wellogic and Booz Allen Hamilton.

Key facts:

  • It was the first live HIE on Hawai'i Island, and now connects doctors in North Hawai'i.
  • Charter participants are NHCH, affiliated physicians, and their reference laboratories and imaging centers.
  • Authorized physicians and their staffs have immediate access to patient information across all connected venues of care, from emergency rooms to specialist offices.
  • The shared information is harmonized for easy review and to enable decision support.
  • Doctors and staff already observe positive impact on information availability, operational efficiency, and patient care

This project lays the foundation for Alere's EHR, wireless diagnostic devices, decision support, analytics, care coordination and population health reporting functions, officials say.

Participating organizations include: Cleveland Clinic radiologists at North Hawai'i Community Hospital, Clinical Laboratories of Hawai'i, Diagnostic Laboratory Services, Hawai'i Emergency Physicians Associated, Hamakua Health Center, North Hawai'i Community Hospital, North Hawai'i Hospitalist Physicians and North Hawai'i Medical Group.

[See also: HIE lessons of two states.]

With the HIE, officials say care providers can more easily and securely communicate, collaborate and coordinate patient care. Emergency room doctors, for example, can now view patient histories kept by primary care physicians, preventing adverse events in situations when seconds can make a difference. In turn, primary care doctors can receive and view information regarding their patients' admissions and discharges. The HIE's visual presentation also compiles that information into a single sophisticated screen that enables care providers to see the information and trends on their computer or iPad quickly and easily.

"We can now, with the simple click of the mouse or touch on an iPad, see a patient's entire medical history from all participants without having to laboriously chase it down or piece it together," said William Park, MD, a physician at North Hawai'i Community Hospital. "This demonstrates what I believed was possible: that technology can and must be elegant in how it presents patient information. This solution represents a fundamental step forward in how we deliver and coordinate care."