Look inside some of the most established HIEs and how they help U.S. health organizations share data, in the name of lower costs and better patient care.
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HealthBridge began in 1997 as a private regional effort to improve health care quality by sharing health information electronically in the Cincinnati, Ohio, tri-state area. But over the years, its services and membership have grown, and its success and financial sustainability has drawn the attention of other HIE efforts and government leaders. For instance, HealthBridge currently is providing technology services and consulting to help run several other HIEs, including HealthLinc in Bloomington, Ind., and the Northeast Kentucky Regional Health Information Organization in Morehead, Ky. Over the last three years, HealthBridge has been helped lead projects funded by the Office of National Coordinator for Health IT, including the Greater Cincinnati Beacon Collaboration (GCBC), an effort to use health IT to improve emergency and other patient care. HealthBridge also is the lead organization in the Tri-State Regional Extension Center, which serves healthcare providers in southwestern Ohio, northeastern Kentucky, and south-central Indiana. HealthBridge's HIE network encompass more than 50 hospitals, 800 physician practices, 7,500 physicians, and six different communities in four states. In 2011, its secure electronic network sent more than 60 million electronic messages, including clinical lab tests, radiology reports, discharge summaries, and other information.
Recently, HealthBridge announced that 66 practices in Cincinnati went live with a new Emergency Department Admit Alert System developed through HealthBridge and a group of community partners and providers involved with GCBC. The real-time ED Admit Alert System informs practices when patients are admitted into emergency departments or hospitals so they can offer follow-up care. HealthBridge's HIE receives messages from 21 hospitals when an inpatient admission or ED visit occurs. Under the new ED Admit Alert System, ED or admit messages are matched against patient panels from participating practices to check if any patients with diabetes or asthma are present. If the system finds a match, it immediately sends out an electronic alert to the patient's primary care practice.
HealthBridge gets its funding from "a hybrid model--mostly subscription based but also some transaction fees and some grant funding," said a spokeswoman.