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Center for Virtual Care

NEWS | November 1, 2012

UC Davis Health System's Institute for Population Health Improvement releases first-of-its-kind buyers' guide for health information exchange

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.)

The UC Davis Health System's Institute for Population Health Improvement (IPHI) today released the first edition of its "HIE Ready Buyers' Guide" to facilitate health information exchange (HIE), especially in California.

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Produced by IPHI's California Health eQuality (CHeQ) program in collaboration with California Health Information Partnership and Services Organization (CalHIPSO) and state HIE leaders, the guide identifies the base features and standards that should be in place to facilitate health-care data exchange today.

The first of its kind in California, the guide fills a void by providing users an assessment of a product's readiness to exchange information between and among electronic health record (EHR) systems and Health Information Organizations (HIOs). 

The "HIE Ready Buyers' Guide" will help physicians, hospitals and other health-care providers make informed choices when discussing HIE capabilities with EHR system vendors or with HIOs.  It allows purchasers to make side-by-side comparisons of important HIE features based on commonly accepted interoperability and interface standards embedded in the EHRs of products included in the guide.  It also provides information on how well an HIO supports those same standards.

"Notwithstanding the improved information flow that an electronic health record makes possible within a hospital or medical practice, even certified EHRs often have limited capacity to share important care-related data with other EHRs, in effect creating electronic information silos," said Kenneth W. Kizer, distinguished professor and IPHI director. 

"Upgrading EHRs so that information can flow between and among other EHRs and HIOs often requires additional customization to create 'interfaces' that allow the EHRs to communicate with each other," he said.  " 'The HIE Ready Buyers' Guide' helps address this problem by creating more transparency in capabilities and compliance with interoperability standards  We appreciate those vendors and organizations that have participated in this first edition of the guide and look forward to welcoming additional organizations in the next edition."

To develop the "HIE Ready Buyers' Guide," IPHI's CHeQ program identified a set of commonly accepted standards and features available in many EHR and HIE systems whose deployment now will enable parties to exchange health information needed for care delivery.  HIE Ready is consistent with Stage 1 Meaningful Use criteria and the current version of the federal Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Authorized Testing and Certification Bodies (ONC-ATCB) for EHR technology.  It also will be consistent with Stage 2 Meaningful Use and 2014 ONC-ATCB certification criteria.

The Buyer's Guide also reports on relative cost and six capabilities:

  • admit, discharge, and transfer information (ADT)/demographics;
  • laboratory and radiology results and notes;
  • laboratory and radiology orders;
  • referrals and appointments;
  • care summary/continuity of care document (CCD); and
  • public-health reporting.

CHeQ is funded through a 16-month, $17.5 million Interagency Agreement between the IPHI and the California Health and Human Services Agency to develop and implement HIE programs according to the State's Cooperative Grant Agreement with ONC. CHeQ's full range of programs intends to promote health-care quality and coordination of care by expanding underserved communities' capacity to exchange health information and/or access to Direct, a simple, standards-based way for senders to push secure encrypted health information directly to trusted recipients over the Internet.  It also will improve sharing of immunization, laboratory, and care information and provide tools to assist providers in identifying private, secure, standardized, and trusted systems.

Kenneth W. Kizer, IPHI director and distinguished professor at the UC Davis School of Medicine (Department of Emergency Medicine) and Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, leads CHeQ.  Kizer has a long history of public and private sector experience in health information technology, health care quality improvement and population health.  Among his previous activities in this regard, he was the founding president and chief executive officer of the National Quality Forum, a Washington, DC-based quality improvement and consensus standards-setting organization, and before that he served as the Under Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), where he led the VA's transition to electronic health records and health information exchange in the late 1990s.  He also was the director of the former California Department of Health Services from 1985 to 1991, where he initiated a number of health information management modernization efforts.

UC Davis Health System is improving lives and transforming health care by providing excellent patient care, conducting groundbreaking research, fostering innovative, inter-professional education, and creating dynamic, productive partnerships with the community.  The academic health system includes one of the country's best medical schools, a 631-bed acute-care teaching hospital, a 1000-member physician's practice group and the new Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.  It is home to a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, an international neurodevelopmental institute, a stem cell institute and a comprehensive children's hospital.  Other nationally prominent centers focus on advancing telemedicine, improving vascular care, eliminating health disparities and translating research findings into new treatments for patients.  Together, they make UC Davis a hub of innovation that is transforming health for all.  For more information, visit healthsystem.ucdavis.edu.