Yesterday, my colleague Sarah Threnhauser profiled the health information exchange (HIE) plan for Los Angeles County’s Integrated Behavioral Health Information System (see HIE – In The Works In Los Angeles). In the article, she also pointed out that the rollout of functional HIEs is not going well, despite the Meaningful Use 2 incentives.
A recent online poll reported in FierceHealthIT further highlighted these difficulties, as 62 accountable care organizations (ACO) reported that access to external data was challenging, and 88% of those ACOs face “significant obstacles in integrating data from disparate sources” (see Poor Interoperability A Significant Barrier For ACOs). Some other statistics of note?
- 85% of provide organizations struggle to integrate technology and analytics into their workflow
- 95% struggle with interoperability of systems
- 90% struggle with high HIT costs and ROI on technology investments
Does this really matter? The answer to that question is “yes” – if you are the executive of a hospital system that has created an ACO and are trying to coordinate care for risk-based contracting, or if you are a specialty provider organization looking for a sustainability strategy.
The essence of coordinated care – and the ability to manage population health – is the ability to access data on each consumer, across all settings and specialists. And the data sharing to facilitate coordinated care models really comes in two varieties. The first part is having the EHR technology with the ability to exchange data between provider organizations. And while EHRs are fundamental, ACOs also need to focus on risk stratification, advanced network management, event surveillance, and patient outreach and engagement (check out ‘Must Have’ Technologies For Cutting Edge Population Management).
If you’re with a specialist provider organization (aka not primary care), the ability of local health systems (and their ACOs) to make HIE work, and your ability to participate in HIE, is critical for future sustainability. As we move to a health care financing system based on health plans with increasingly narrow networks (see Narrow Networks Happening By Design & By Default and The Headline Says It All), the ability of independent provider organizations to provide data that “plugs into” ACO population health management is a prerequisite for meaningful participation in, and referrals from, those health systems. In addition, if your organization is considering an expanded role in managing services (as opposed to just providing services) for high-cost complex consumer populations, these are necessary technology competencies (see What Matters In Making Health Homes Sustainable).
For more on the issues around using data to coordinate consumer care, make sure to join my colleague Joseph P. Naughton-Travers at the 2014 OPEN MINDS Technology & Informatics Institute for his session, Using A Data-Driven Approach To Coordinate Care – The Provider Organization Perspective, on Thursday, November 6.