Healthcare IT Interoperability, EHR interoperability, Hospital Interoperability

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Two CA Networks to Form Largest Health Information Exchange

A planned merger between Cal INDEX and Inland Empire HIE will produce the largest health information exchange in the country.

- The California Integrated Data Exchange (Cal INDEX) and Inland Empire Health Information Exchange (IEHIE) announced midweek plans to combine their networks and become the largest health information exchange in the United States.

Cal INDEX and Inland Empire HIE merge to create nations largest health information exchange

The newly created health information exchange will include over 16 million health information records — 11.7-million claims records from Cal INDEX founding members Blue Shield of California and Anthem Blue Cross and 5 million clinical patient records from IEHIE. The HIE will also include 150 participating partners.

Participating partners involved in the newly formed HIE include hospitals and physician practices, payers, and other regional health networks.

The two organizations will cover a large swath of California. Inland Empire’s network alone covers providers all across the region from San Francisco to San Diego.

The 16.7-million medical records to comprise the combined Cal INDEX-IEHIE network surpasses those of other leader health information exchanges across the country, which include the Indiana Health Information Exchange (12 million), Chesapeake Regional Information System for Patients (10 million), and Statewide Health Information Network for New York (8.8 million).

"The creation of this new statewide health information exchange by IEHIE and Cal INDEX is an important milestone in transforming California's healthcare system into a coordinated system that delivers higher quality and more efficient care to all Californians," said IEHIE Board of Directors Chairman Bradley Gilbert, MD, MPP, said in a public statement.

Former White House Senior Advisor of Health Innovation and Technology Claudia Williams will head the new HIE as CEO starting Feb. 1, 2017. The merger is expected to be completed during the first quarter of this calendar year and will operate as a tax-exempt public benefit corporation under a new name.

Williams has 25 years of experience in the health industry and will be stepping from her post at the White House.

"Claudia's track record of developing strategic partnerships with technology, provider, consumer and health plan leaders will be invaluable as Cal INDEX and Inland Empire HIE add new partners and bring value to providers and patients throughout the state," said Gilbert.

The health information exchange merger is expected to improve the quality of patient care by establishing a secure, connected information exchange across providers statewide. Combining the two organizations will optimize existing health technology and strengthen the connection between HIEs.

"I'm thrilled by the opportunity to lead the new organization and collaborate with our partners to improve patient care for all Californians," Williams said. "Our goal is to deliver compelling products and services that support California's hospitals, providers and patients in their efforts to improve care coordination, reduce inefficiencies, address gaps in care and enhance patient experience."

The HIE will be essential in easing health information exchange among diverse health systems across California. This merger brings health organizations a step closer to implementing efficient coordinated care statewide.

“We will facilitate the development and use of some wonderful technologies and applications thereby fulfilling a promise of improving the quality and interoperability of healthcare as well as the patient experience,” said Paul Markovich, President and CEO of Blue Shield California, in a media call held Wednesday afternoon.

According to Gilbert, a key component of the new HIE’s success is demonstrating value to its end-users.

“The key is in showing the value possibilities for the providers,” said Gilbert.

While administrators have yet to settle on a name for the new organization, the HIE will operate under a new designation.

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