Arizona and Colorado HIEs to partner, form new regional exchange

By | September 30, 2020

CORHIO and Health Current, the state health information exchanges for Colorado and Arizona, respectively, are joining forces, and aim to launch a new data exchange to better serve providers and their patients across the region.

The two HIEs, which together manage data for some 1,320 healthcare organizations across Arizona and Colorado, say they’re working to strategically align their organizations, with an eye toward eventually expanding into “the largest health data utility in the West.”

While that goal is still in the future, and would be subject to various conditions and a formal agreement, the two organizations say their regional proximity, financial health, and shared “goals, values and culture” make the collaboration a good fit.

Together, they aim to build out a more effective model for community-driven and broadly-deployed healthcare interoperability.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has recently been showing support for state and regional health information exchanges, through initiatives such as its new Star HIE program, and recognizes them as key conveners and coordinators during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Most of the country is now covered with HIE health information exchanges, and they really are a good way to have central store,” said National Coordinator Dr. Don Rucker recently. “Some of them federate the data and the messages out to the various providers as needed, as they’re taking care of patients. And in that world, that can provide one-stop shopping for providers on reporting.

“That one-stop shopping on reporting is, I think, going to be important,” he added. “We have right now, obviously, a lot of different mandated reporting because of the pandemic. But I think over time we can move to that more integrated reporting where then the public health agencies get a feed from the HIEs.”

Early on in the public health emergency, back in March, Healthcare IT News spoke with Health Current Chief Information Officer Keith Parker about how the HIE was responding as the coronavirus crisis spread.

“We’re reaching out to our stakeholders and communicating with them about how best to use our data and the infrastructure we’ve put in place,” he said. “Everything from data-mining our database for our state or other authorized individuals to use for hot-spotting, to using our alert mechanisms, so when different labs or different high-risk patients come across, we can make sure that their care teams and their providers are aware of it as well.”

Earlier this month, Parker joined me – along with Jaime Bland, CEO of Nebraska Health Information Initiative, and Becky Learn, vice president of client experience at Indiana Health Information Exchange – for an hour-long discussion at the HIMSS Learning Center about the critical role HIEs play during the pandemic and beyond.

“This strategic alignment of two established, successful and long-standing HIEs is crucial to drive increased value to our healthcare communities and employees,” says Health Current CEO Melissa Kotrys in a statement. “By joining forces and partnering with additional organizations who wish to join this regional HIE, we will be well positioned for successful participation in national interoperability models.”

“The next evolution for HIEs is to become regional health data utilities for their communities, providing vital services just like the water, electric, and other essential utilities,” added CORHIO CEO Morgan Honea.

“CORHIO and Health Current are among the forerunners to strategically align and create the infrastructure for regional and nationwide interoperability by building a business and operating model that will further advance our collective services and community support.”

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