By many measures, the Keystone HIE has made steady progress toward the goal of widespread community health data exchange. Formed in 2005, the HIE, which serves 14 hospitals in Pennsylvania, has a database of 2.9 million records with seven hospitals and five emergency departments publishing to it. A number of labs and clinics are also members.

About 450,000 patients have given consent to have their information available via the exchange, but more are needed, said James Younkin, director of the HIE, during a HIMSS11 presentation. Younkin, who also serves as I.T. director for Geisinger Health System, a Danville-based provider organization participating in the exchange, noted that only a small minority actually decline to participate in the effort. “Our decline rate is about 5 percent,” he said. “Our ‘not asked’ rate is much higher.”

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