Midwestern states ink HIE deal

'Healthcare does not neatly follow state borders.'
By Erin McCann
10:44 AM
The Illinois Health Information Exchange and the Missouri Health Connection will be joining forces in a new data sharing agreement that will provide physicians in both states with real-time patient information to boost care quality. 
Officials say this new HIE partnership is particularly important for border states Illinois and Missouri since patients frequently cross state lines to receive care. 
"Healthcare does not neatly follow state borders, so information about patients needs to follow them wherever they go," said Raul Recarey, executive director of ILHIE, in a press statement announcing the agreement. "Many Illinois patients from the southern portion of our state are referred to Missouri hospitals. The ILHIE/MHC agreement will allow providers from either state to have access to critically important patient data, regardless of whether that data resides in Missouri or Illinois."
MHC and ILHIE are the state-designated entities for their respective states, tasked with creating and managing the infrastructure to connect healthcare providers with their patients via a secure health information network. As more healthcare providers move from paper-based medical records to electronic health record systems, MHC and ILHIE are teaming up to ensure they can exchange data with each other through a single, secure network – regardless of the technology platforms that they are using, officials say.  
ILHIE's network provides services to more than 2,000 providers at more than 450 healthcare organizations, including hospitals, physician practices, and community health centers. 
According to officials, MHC's network provides services to more than 45 percent of the inpatient care provided in Missouri, 62 hospitals and more than 350 clinics. The network enables more than 7,000 physicians to securely access the health information of their patients to improve care quality.
"Our goal is to fulfill the vision of using technology to reduce the silos that hold back health information from being available where it is needed most — in the hands of caregivers," said Marc Andiel, MHC's president and CEO, in a news release. "Whether those silos are organizational or governmental boundaries or technological interoperability challenges, we exist to reduce those barriers, and working with Illinois on this common goal has demonstrated our shared missions of service to our communities."