PCDH Launch Lays Foundation for HIEs to Support Better Patient Care by Making It Possible to Deliver Patient Medical Record Alerts Across the Country
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – January 4, 2018 – UHIN, the state designated health information exchange (HIE) in Utah, today announced it participated in the official launch of the Patient Centered Data Home (PCDH) initiative, a nationwide initiative coordinated by the health information exchange members of the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC), a national collaborative representing health information exchanges (HIEs). Today’s launch signals that HIEs throughout the country are now actively sharing data with each other to support mobile patient populations.
UHIN began participating in the western implementation in Spring 2016. Originally consisting of HIEs in Utah, Arizona and western Colorado, UHIN recently connected with the HIEs in Nevada, Idaho and Nebraska. To date, nearly 85,000 Admit/Discharge/Transfer (ADT) alert notifications have been sent between the participating HIEs in the western implementation.
The western implementation is one of three smaller production implementations created within regions to prove the concept of inter-HIE information sharing and alerting. The others are the Heartland implementation, involving HIEs stretching from Michigan to Tennessee, and the Central implementation, which includes Oklahoma and Arkansas. In total, 17 HIEs participated across the three production implementations, and based on their successes, the participating HIEs have each agreed to a common, national agreement for participation, which set the stage for connecting the implementations and rolling out the full-scale, national implementation.
PCHD has provided UHIN the ability to expand interoperability. A recent examination of UHIN’s master patient index showed that some 60% of individuals seek treatment at a facility outside of their primary hospital system. Salt Lake City is also home to several world-renowned medical centers, attracting patients not only from every corner of the state, but also from beyond Utah’s borders. UHIN recognizes that for care-coordination to be successful, healthcare providers must have access to their patients’ records, no matter where treatment is received.
“We have always been a proponent for greater interoperability, and quickly recognized that PCDH would provide us with the ability to expand interoperability beyond our borders,” said Teresa Rivera, President and CEO of UHIN. “As a frontier state, for many Utahns the nearest hospital may be in a neighboring state. Equally as important, there are thousands of patients from outside Utah who seek medical treatment at the region’s leading burn clinic, children’s hospital and cancer center all of which are located in Salt Lake City.”
What is PCDH?
At its core, PCDH is an inter-HIE notification and data sharing system that allows a patient’s records to follow them wherever they seek care. Because patients are unrestricted by geographic boundaries when they seek care, it is common for a person to be treated by a doctor, clinic or hospital a distance from where they live. Frequently the “away” treatment facility is not a part of the same HIE in which the patient’s “home” doctors participate. 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 diagnoses and treatment plans.
To more quickly alert the treating physician that there are medical records available for access from the patient’s doctors at home, and to provide a specific query location to retrieve those records, HIEs worked together to create the technical ability for HIEs to automatically notify each other regarding the existence of a patient’s medical records and to synchronize the patient’s identity among the HIE systems.
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. 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 including ZIP Code information in the ADT, PCDH can automatically detect when a patient is being treated within a ZIP code outside of their normal home area.
When these events occur, the “away” HIE alerts the HIE in the patient’s home area, and that home HIE, known as the patient’s “data home,” automatically lets 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 providers can access in order to better care for the patient on an ongoing basis. This new capability makes it possible for a patient’s comprehensive medical history to follow them wherever they seek treatment.
UHIN is a nonprofit coalition of healthcare providers, payers, state government and other stakeholders that have come together to reduce healthcare costs and improve quality and access for the community by enabling providers, payers and patients to exchange information electronically. UHIN focuses on creating electronic exchange solutions that work for the entire healthcare community, from single-provider practices to large integrated healthcare systems. For more information, visit www.uhin.org.
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.