What is an HIE?
It seems like a no-brainer in the age of instant messaging and smart phones, but electronic health records don’t always follow their patients from one source of care to another. It’s an enormous set of complex challenges to build an IT infrastructure that works seamlessly across often-fragmented systems – challenges that can take a lot of time and investment to address. And it’s not just a technology issue; poor health outcomes and limited access to appropriate care are pervasive problems with equally-elusive answers for many communities, including our own here in Greater Cincinnati.
At The Health Collaborative, we believe no matter where you seek care, you and your provider should have access to the right information, at the right time, in order to make the best-informed decisions about your health. We’re part of a growing number of health information exchanges (HIEs) across the country who are working to make that a reality, where and when it matters most.
Empowered decision-making, powered by hb/suite
The Health Collaborative’s hb/suite of services is like a toolbox for healthcare providers to connect with the information they need. From expedited lab results, to electronic messaging, to real-time notifications when a patient is admitted to the emergency room, our virtual private networks ensure the safe, secure delivery of protected health records directly into the hands of care providers. Our master patient index encompasses millions of lives, 4.2 million to be exact, and we’re even currently working on a pilot program to connect with six other HIEs across the eastern half of the US. That means whether you have a sinus infection from your Cincinnati seasonal allergies, or you broke your leg while waterskiing on Lake Michigan, your patient records will follow you straight into the doctor’s office. We think that’s pretty cool (the records, not the broken leg)!
We didn’t just come up with the idea along with a bunch of our IT friends though; the US Office of the National Coordinator for Information Technology (ONC), as part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has outlined a 10-year vision for achieving what’s known as interoperability. Connecting electronic health information among a broad spectrum of healthcare providers and services nationwide means the Triple Aim of healthier people, better care, and lower costs starts to become a reality. Individuals are empowered, treatments are more customized, and unnecessary care becomes a thing of the past.
The Health Collaborative’s vision is that Greater Cincinnati is healthy by design and everyone is connected to quality, affordable healthcare. Together with our members and partner organizations, our HIE hopes for the region are being made reality – one connection, one patient record, and one doctor’s office at a time.