The Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative, the trade association for health information exchanges, plans on making a big splash at HIMSS18, offering 17 case studies covering such issues as sharing behavioral health data, using HIE to benefit providers and payers, data sharing to support a stroke network serving Maryland and Washington, D.C.

The case studies also will show how HIEs can help in disaster response, particularly in how the technology assisted during the Texas floods and the Flint water crisis.

“We will be out in full force at HIMSS, that’s for sure,” says Kelly Hoover Thompson, CEO. “All HIEs are welcome to come and learn about our new Patient Centered Data Home Initiative.”

PCDH is working with HIEs to alert physicians when their patients have a health event away from home. PCDH is an inter-HIE notification and data sharing system that enables patients’ records to follow them wherever they seek care. When that care comes from a provider away from a patient’s regular doctor, there is a higher risk that the treating clinician will not have access to the patient’s full medical record and the patient’s doctor may not know of the outside treatment.

Kelly Hoover Thompson

“HIE vendors recognize the value in SHIEC,” says Thompson. “Word of mouth is if you are in the HIE space, SHIEC is where you want to be.”

Some state governments looking for vendor services also have approached the organization asking for recommendations and help with business plan writing, she adds.

The launch of the Patient Centered Data Home Initiative follows a pilot program that included 17 HIEs using a standardized process to prove the concept in inter-HIE sharing and notification. “The HIEs working together to create PCDH built a powerful foundation for interoperability between HIEs, and we managed to do it using our current technologies,” says Dan Porreca, executive director at HEALTHeLINK, an HIE in New York State and chair of the SHIEC board of directors.

The PCDH is the latest new program at SHIEC, which launched in 2014 and in 2017 expanded its vendor membership from five to 32, and it now has 60 HIEs as members.

Other existing services from SHIEC include guidance with developing strategic plans and technical platforms, privacy and security risk assessments, and certification services.

Going further, the HIE association in October teamed with the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement, comprising more than 30 regional health improvement collaboratives working for better health, better care and lower costs. Together the two organizations cover about 75 percent of the nation.

Under the alliance the organizations will jointly offer educational services, web seminars and advocacy initiatives, with joint funding opportunities to support additional programs being considered.

The Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement brings such skills and services as examining healthcare cost issues and transparency of care, and an employer educational summit on payment reform.

Working together, the groups can be at the table with policy makers, Thompson says. “Being in the know with other partners in this space is a tremendous value.”