How Sharing Health Data Helps Patients, by Peter High in CIO Insight Article

March 09, 2015
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Peter High


Excerpt from the Article:

Dr. Jan Lee currently serves as the CEO of the Delaware Health Information Network (DHIN), the nation’s first statewide clinical health information exchange. She works with key leaders in the statewide health care community to aggregate clinical data from hospitals, laboratories, radiology centers, ambulatory practices and health plans into a longitudinal health record. Additionally, Dr. Lee is a board certified Family Practice physician with a Master of Medical Management degree and a wealth of leadership experience.

CIO Insight: Describe the Delaware Health Information Network.

Jan Lee: The metaphors we use to describe our core services are “the post office” and “the public library.” We deliver clinical results and reports to providers on behalf of the hospitals, labs, and imaging centers who contract with us to provide that service (our “post office” function). In the process, we archive a copy of that data for future query and retrieval through our provider portal (our “public library” function) by other health care professionals with a need to know. Participation in these core services, either as a “data sender” or an end user or both is nearly universal across the health care community of Delaware.

CIO Insight: As the oldest and longest running statewide health information network, how have you fostered relationships among entities who might otherwise view themselves as competitors?

Lee: Visionary leaders of Delaware’s largest health systems agreed from the beginning that the welfare of patients is best served if all the relevant clinical data is available at every stage in the continuum of care. Time and experience revealed that they each continued to thrive in the environment of data sharing, and we have now reached the point where the few stragglers are coming to us saying they are losing business to competitors who HAVE chosen to share their data through DHIN.

CIO Insight: In 2005, the eHealth initiative developed a framework for assessing and tracking health information exchange development. Seven stages of development were defined. Could you describe those?

Lee: My abbreviated description of the seven stages is as follows:

Stage 1 – Starting (need recognition)

Stage 2 – Organizing (defining goals, funding sources, governance, policies)

Stage 3 – Planning (tactics, business plan, securing funding)

Stage 4 – Piloting

Stage 5 – Operating (fully operational, data actually being used by HIE participants)

Stage 6 – Sustaining (fully operational with a sustainable business model)

Stage 7 – Innovating (expansion of value-added services)

We are happy to report that we are solidly in stage 7.

CIO Insight: How do you impact patient outcomes?

Lee: We save the practices time (and time is money) in searching for missing information. They are less likely to give up the search if it is easy and quick to get all the information they need in one spot. We have seen a 21% reduction over four years in the rate of ordering a specific set of high cost imaging studies and a 64% reduction in the rate of ordering high cost lab studies. This means reduced radiation exposure and out-of-pocket costs for the patient…

To read the remainder of the article, please visit CIO Insight

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