Arizona Health-e Connection (AzHeC) held five regional HIE meetings with participants from around the state, engaging nearly two hundred participants in sessions held in Phoenix, Tucson, and Flagstaff between June and October 2016. A key objective was to bring attendees up to date on the fact that Arizona’s statewide health information exchange (HIE) has now attained a “critical mass” of hospital clinical data with real-time data on 90 percent of the hospital discharges and emergency department visits across the state.
An even more critical objective was to listen to customers and understand their issues, priorities, and barriers, according to Tony Fonze, Chief Innovation Officer for Arizona Health-e Connection. “Though Arizona is one large geographic area, it is comprised of a number of distinct regions, each with its own nuance health care perspectives and environments,” Fonze said. “We wanted to stress that our statewide HIE is open for business and providing alerts and clinical data to help our customers meet the clinical and value-based demands of their patients and business operations. We want our services to be easy to use and as valuable as possible,” he said.
Some consistent themes and issues across all the regional meetings included:
- The value of real-time alerts so providers can quickly become aware of hospital admissions, discharges, and ED visits in order to provide appropriate intervention and follow-up. Alerts must be accurate, with meaningful information, and sorted to facilitate care managements workflows. The Network currently issues over 100,000 alerts each month.
- Value-based contracting, bundled-payments, transparency, and quality reporting require increasingly comprehensive data sets in order to see the whole picture for each patient.
- Interest and concern about MACRA/MIPS and DSRIP and questions about AzHeC’s role and services around these drivers
- AzHeC’s current efforts to integrate behavioral and physical health information into the HIE. AzHeC is currently contracted with AHCCCS to integrate the behavioral health information of the state’s high-priority behavioral health providers
- Interest across the state to extend the reach of the HIE to include additional provider and service organizations including first responders, post-acute Providers, home health, and social services
- The potential to layer a stack of potential services on top of the HIE’s broad longitudinal record. While the HIE makes its data available to all participating organizations, there is community interest in bundling additional services to a sub-set of participants. These could include population health and analytics, care management and coordination, image sharing, and more comprehensive medication history data.
There were several action items that came out of the regional HIE meetings. A key action item is the development and implementation of surveys to HIE participants, both to assess interest and priorities concerning potential value-added services, and to gauge satisfaction with current services. Another key action item is providing additional and enhanced efforts to keep HIE participants abreast of changes, new capabilities and use cases that could benefit all participants.
The regional HIE meetings were very successful, according to Fonze. “We heard some very valuable feedback, and, as a result, we are adjusting our priorities and workflows to remain a valued and trusted partner.”