The California Integrated Data Exchange (Cal INDEX) and Inland Empire Health Information Exchange plan to merge, creating the nation’s largest HIE, with claims or patient records of more than 16 million patients and with 150 participating providers.
On Tuesday, the two organizations announced the merger—subject to regulatory approval by the California Attorney General—which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of this year. It will operate as a tax-exempt public benefit corporation under a new, as-yet undetermined name.
The merger combines the 11.7 million claims records from Cal INDEX founding members Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California with 5 million clinical patient records from IEHIE (see here how new HIE stacks up to other state HIEs).
According to Mark Savage, chairman of the Cal INDEX Board of Directors, the merger will “create one of the nation’s most comprehensive nonprofit HIEs” and “represents an important milestone in transforming California’s healthcare system into a coordinated system that delivers high quality and more efficient care to all Californians.”
Savage adds that the merger “bridges Cal INDEX’s statewide HIE with the Inland Empire’s practical experience and strategy around making health information access and use real on the ground” and is a natural fit.
In 2014, health insurance rivals Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California joined forces and invested $80 million to form the statewide Cal INDEX HIE.
“The reality is an HIE is only as good as the amount of data and the amount of participants and providers providing that data,” says Bradley Gilbert, chairman of the IEHIE Board of Directors.
Claudia Williams, former White House technology senior advisor as well as director of HIE for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, will take charge of the new organization as chief executive officer, effective February 1.
“I’m thrilled by the opportunity to lead the new organization and collaborate with our partners to improve patient care for all Californians,” said Williams in a written statement. “Our goal is to deliver compelling products and services that support California’s hospitals, providers and patients in their efforts to improve care coordination, reduce inefficiencies, address gaps in care and enhance patient experience.”
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