Private HIEs big promise: filling care gaps
Of all the patient data sharing initiatives around the country, only a few are private health information exchanges. But as New York City is finding out, there is a need for private HIEs as a kind of parkway, connecting smaller practices and big hospitals.
It’s an infrastructure and culture challenge being taken on by the information technologists who manage the New York University Langone Medical Center HIE, a private exchange with more than 3 million individual patient records across more than 20 EMRs.
NYU Langone Medical Center (NYULMC) is running its own health information exchange for the patients treated by its 390 physicians, four inpatient hospitals and numerous outpatient clinics — and by the many small, private physician practices in NYU’s affiliate network.
Whereas many public HIEs, including the Interboro Regional Health Information Organization, connect patient data mostly from hospitals, they don’t always have data from patient care at the practice level, said Frat Iqbal, a senior information manager at NYULMC HIE.
“With pay-for-value, the value added is connecting primary care, the smaller practices that patients visit on a regular basis,” Iqbal said. “A larger RHIO doesn’t have the agility to reach out on that level.”
It’s that agility that makes the case for a private HIE as part of a network connecting practices to hospital systems and state or regional HIE.
Health information exchanges, Iqbal argued, are the next big national highway system — for health data.
Much as state and local roads connect city and town streets to interstates, private HIEs can help connect local private providers — like NYC’s 7,400 group practices — to regional and state HIEs, for when patients are being referred across big institutions and also quality reporting and analytics.
So far, NYUMC’s HIE is connected to 205 practices using 28 different EMRs, one of the largest diversities of EMRs of any HIE in the nation. The HIE currently exchanges data of 3.1 million patients with 2,200 physicians and connects with the RHIO, primarily sharing hospital data.
Iqbal said the goal is to eventually connect with more practices who in total are using 46 different EHRs — and to help foster a culture of exchanging health data, among both patients and providers.
“The mindset of data sharing is still developing,” he said.
Iqbal and Antinori are slated to lead the session “A private HIE: Operations, challenges, strategy, and analytics" on Tuesday, April 14, at 10 a.m. in Room S404.