The Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council (MCHC) announced plans Monday to develop the MetroChicago Health Information Exchange (HIE), which is expected to be the largest metropolitan HIE in the nation, serving more than 9.4 million people. The new exchange will use Microsoft Corp., CSC and HealthUnity Corp. technologies to drive quality care improvements and cost efficiencies for Chicago healthcare consumers.
The MCHC recognizes the potential for HIEs to improve individual care and population health through selected technologies that support both goals. By enabling the flow of data across healthcare organizations, the MetroChicago HIE expects positive outcomes due to more comprehensive views of patient information. These include decreased costs from fewer redundant tests across care settings, reduction in time spent gathering information about patients and greater efficiency in identifying patients requiring ongoing ambulatory care.
“MCHC is charting a new course with the MetroChicago HIE,” said Mary Anne Kelly, vice president of MCHC.
“The HIE will be one of the largest in the country and will allow our region’s healthcare market to improve efficiency by creating a network where health information flows with the patient, no matter where care is received. The reaction from local hospitals has been overwhelmingly positive. Seventy percent of hospitals in the Chicago metro area have already become founding members of the HIE, which is a testament to area healthcare organizations’ stalwart commitment to improving quality and patient safety.”
The MetroChicago HIE will use Microsoft Amalga, an enterprise health intelligence platform, to aggregate and present a unified view of patient medical history data at the time and point of care, and CSC will provide project management, implementation, hosting and support services. Software components from HealthUnity will work in combination with Amalga to provide foundational HIE services and continuity of care document exchange services. These technologies will give the MetroChicago HIE a powerful engine to quickly aggregate and analyze data across patient cohorts and populations, enabling care transformation.
“As the industry continues to focus on delivering value — better care at the same, or lower, costs — the flow of data across organizational boundaries and the ability to analyze and report on data across patient populations are increasingly important,” said Peter Neupert, corporate vice president of the Health Solutions Group at Microsoft. “MCHC is leading its healthcare provider members to adopt technologies that can help drive value throughout the care delivery process, enabling a healthier population.”
"CSC is looking forward to delivering a powerful solution that gives MCHC the ability to analyze data across populations, enhance quality of care within that community and use the data to improve coordination across the continuum of care,” said Mark Roman, president of CSC Global Healthcare Group. “Our experience designing, building and running the nation's first health information exchange in Massachusetts, and advanced capabilities in software-as-a-service cloud delivery platforms, will bring technology to deliver better information for better decisions to improve patient care for MCHC and residents of the Greater Chicago Metropolitan area.”
The MetroChicago HIE will initially build use cases that are aligned with meaningful use incentives, as outlined in the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, passed in 2009.
The goal is to implement functionality that offers value to the largest number of stakeholders and that can be deployed quickly. The first two use cases to be deployed will be Clinical Summary — Emergency Department (ED) Linking, allowing authorized healthcare providers to see a consolidated view of the patient’s medical history, with input regarding test results, problems and medication information from other providers across the region.
This information is crucial, especially during medical emergencies, when patients may not be able to tell providers about their health history, medications they take or allergies.
And, because of available information from the ED, Public Health Reporting can be supported to monitor emerging outbreaks of influenza or disease patterns for early surveillance across the MetroChicago region. More than 66 hospitals and major outpatient care organizations have submitted letters of intent to MCHC to participate in this industry-led initiative. Participating organizations will fund the HIE, as opposed to short-term grant funding from government or other outside entities.