Arizona Health-e Connection (AzHeC) held a very successful initial regional health information exchange (HIE) meeting in Tucson on June 17, 2016, the first of several regional HIE meetings that are planned around the state.
The Tucson meeting, held at the historic Manning House, now the the administrative headquarters for El Rio Community Heath Center, included leaders from area hospitals, practices and health plans and demonstrated the value of a regional approach to HIE coordination.
A statewide HIE achieves success on a region by region basis, according to Tony Fonze, AzHeC Chief Innovation Officer. “While an HIE addresses shared priorities and concerns at a state level, there are unique challenges in care coordination and information sharing that are best addressed in each region of the state,” he said. The meeting included more than 30 participants who engaged in a robust discussion on the potential and the opportunity for additional HIE capabilities and tools to assist regional efforts.
The meeting discussed ways that HIE coordination could help lower costs through reducing readmissions and lengths of stay, identifying and managing high-risk or high-needs populations and through specific solutions such as population health analytics, care management, medication reconciliation and image sharing. In addition, there was discussion of the integration of physical and behavioral health data in the HIE and the coordination of behavioral health and social service providers regionally.
The one important take-away, according to Fonze, was that the meeting demonstrated that AzHeC, as a trusted, neutral third-party organization, could facilitate discussion and problem resolution among competitors to benefit overall patient care and coordination.
AzHeC has similar regional HIE meetings scheduled in Phoenix on August 25 and August 31, and planning for a regional HIE meeting in northern Arizona will begin in the near future.