HIEs Need To Deliver Clear Value

HIEHIE in 2013: Climbing past the low-hanging fruit

Unlike western and central Pennsylvania, providers in greater Philadelphia are not linked by a health information exchange, perhaps because until recently there wasn’t a huge need for one among uber-competitive, highly-rated providers like the University of Pennsylvania Health System and Hahnemann University Hospital.

Now though, providers in and around Philadelphia are in the late stages of planning for HealthShare of Southeastern PA, developing governance and funding models and hoping to have a rough framework by February, said Michael Restuccia, University of Pennsylvania Health System CIO.

“Then we can push it forward from a use case perspective,” Restuccia said. About 20 hospitals are set to participate by 2014, with two use cases initially: medication history lists and discharge summary.

HIE: The industrialization of healthcare

With a new focus on, and in some cases requirements for, healthcare cost control and quality improvements, 2013 is likely to bring the formation of HIEs long coming — like one in greater Philadelphia — and the standardization and improvement of ones in existence. Indeed, some observers think HIEs, especially state-based exchanges, need to prove their value.

In Philadelphia there’s “an aggregation of entities, which all have different cultures, and there’s a lot of competition,” said Hahnemann physician liaison Thompson Boyd, MD. That’s in large part why the region never developed an HIE, compared to western and central parts of the state, where the dominant providers, UPMC and Geisinger, created their own HIEs.

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