TULSA – Tulsa-based MyHealth Access Network today announced its participation in a major expansion of the Patient Centered Data Home™ (PCDH) initiative, a secure health data exchange system that could help patients by proactively alerting their providers when they have a health event away from home, so their health records can be available wherever and whenever they need them. For individuals, this provides reassurance that they can receive high-quality personalized care regardless of where they are in the country. This also provides critical national infrastructure to support response to public health events, natural disasters and other major events where individual lives and health are impacted.
The PCDH expansion, led by The Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC), a national group of HIEs, will add tens of millions more patients to their network. The expansion unifies three regional implementations of the PCDH in which 17 HIEs worked together to prove the concept of inter-HIE information sharing and notification. Based on the success of the implementations, the participating HIEs have each agreed to a common, national agreement for participation, which set the stage for connecting the regions and rolling out the full-scale, national implementation.
MyHealth CEO Dr. David Kendrick said the program is part of a national effort to achieve improved health and better patient care at lower costs.
“The key to eliminating waste, preventing duplicative or even dangerous procedures, and delivering the best care possible is data,” said Kendrick. “In Oklahoma, MyHealth connects hospitals and healthcare providers for secure data exchange and has already successfully helped providers find savings and deliver better care to their patients.”
The challenge, said Kendrick, is that patients are highly mobile and in some cases receive care in multiple states.
“We don’t just want to link Tulsa with Oklahoma City, or urban and rural areas within our state,” said Kendrick. “We know that tens of thousands of Oklahomans receive important care in other parts of the country and then find themselves trying to access and transport their medical records themselves. Worse, their records from home may not be available when they need them in the ER or hospital far from home. The Patient Centered Data Home addresses this need, and enables patients and their doctors to have the right records when and where they are needed.”
What is PCDH?
At its core, PCDH is an inter-HIE secure notification and health data sharing system. Because patients seek care wherever they are when they need it, not just near home, it is common for a person to be treated by a doctor, clinic or hospital far from their home doctor, or even close by, but across a political border like a state line. Frequently the “away” treatment facility is not a part of the same HIE that the patient’s doctors at home participate in. As a result, there is a higher risk that the clinician treating them will not have access to the patient’s full medical records to support accurate diagnoses and effective treatment plans.
Recognizing the this need to proactively provide treating physician with the most comprehensive view of each patient’s record, HIEs worked together to create the technical ability for HIE’s to automatically notify each other regarding the existence of a patient’s medical records. Then each HIE can deliver the alerts to the correct providers and respond to them according to their own policies.
The mechanism that makes this work is very straightforward. When a patient presents at a medical facility away from home, that facility will generate an Admission, Discharge, Transfer (ADT) message which may be shared with a connected HIE. This message includes demographics about the patient; information such as the patient’s name, the patient’s location in the hospital, his or her address, phone number, gender, etc. By inspecting the home address information in the ADT messages for appropriately consented patients, each PCDH participating HIE can automatically detect when a patient is being treated outside of their normal home area.
When this happens, the “away” HIE will alert the HIE in the patient’s home area, and that home HIE, known as the patient’s “data home,” will automatically let the treating HIE know they have records for the patient so the treating HIE can generate a query to access those records. Once the treatment encounter concludes, PCDH also makes it possible for the “away” HIE to alert the patient’s home HIE that there are new records for their patient that the home HIE can access.
A Novel Approach for Triggering Effective Data Sharing Nationwide
To prove the viability of the PCDH model, SHIEC set up three regional implementations: the western implementation, the heartland implementation and the central implementation. Each of these individual implementations involved coordination among HIEs spanning multiple states. The trial implementations were constructed this way to prove the concept worked.
With the successful completion of the trial implementations and the launch of the national legal framework, PCDH is now rolling out across the other SHIEC-member HIE’s. With the implementation of the national agreement, SHIEC has connected the three regional networks into a nationwide network for securely sharing patient information when and where it is needed most to improve health and save lives.
SHIEC is the national collaborative of health information exchanges (HIEs) and strategic business and technology partners. As the unbiased data trustees in their communities, the 60 member HIE organizations manage and provide for the secure digital exchange of data by medical, behavioral, and social service providers to improve the health of the communities they serve. Collectively, SHIEC members serve almost 75 percent of the U.S. population. For more information about SHIEC, visit firstname.lastname@example.org and follow us on Twitter at @SHIEClive.