Health Information Exchange in California

Thought Leadership

I just returned from Sacramento after having the opportunity to meet with Verato clients and friends at the 2019 California HIE Onboarding and Interoperability Summit. This was the first year I had the privilege to attend and I look forward to next year. Verato has several health information exchange (HIE) customers in California – in fact we provide identity management and patient matching solutions for over 20 million Californians with our Referential Matching platform.

The primary goal of the summit was to help people understand how their organizations fit into the larger State of California HIE picture today – including State Health Departments – and plans for California’s Future HIT Landscape.

As you can imagine there was a tremendous amount of focus on Interoperability and integrating more providers and patients to California HIOs and HIEs.

Topics centered around:

  • California HIE Onboarding Program (Cal-HOP) and the $50M of CMS Funding
  • Health Information Technology for EMS (HITEMS)
  • Medi-Cal Reporting
  • Integration with Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES)
  • Public Health Reporting & Registries
    • CAIR – Immunization Reporting
    • CalREDIE – Reportable Disease Information Exchange
    • CCR – California Cancer Registry

I had the chance to hear from California State Health Department Directors and CIOs, HIE CEOs, informaticists, and other healthcare professionals – all sharing their perspective and how they are working to provide quality care to patients throughout the state and their communities. It’s a tremendous effort, considering that we’re a bit unique in California (maybe not a big surprise to those of you outside California) in that we have a federated model vs. those states that opted to create a single HIE. California’s strategy for health information sharing relies on regional and voluntary participation. So, it was amazing to see the collaboration between these entities and the State of California working together to continue to put the systems and policies in place to advance clinical outcomes, patient engagement, and population health.

One thing became abundantly clear to me over the 2-day conference: patient matching is one of the most pressing challenges facing California’s HIE community on their road to interoperability. Patients expect their providers to have their data and providers are frustrated when they do not have it. These are core issues which in many cases boil down to poor patient matching or record linking.

AHIMA estimates that healthcare providers have 8% – 12% duplicate medical record rates within their enterprises. Yet patient matching becomes even more challenging for HIEs connecting data across their member systems, and exponentially more challenging as HIEs connect with each other to share patient data across the state.

As a vendor providing innovative patient matching to so many Californians, it’s rewarding to be a part of the solution to improve patient care in California. Many organizations performing master patient index (MPI) clean-ups to keep their record duplication percentage low do not realize that the traditional patient matching systems they’re relying on (and cleaning up) are not catching all the potential linkages utilizing their algorithms alone.

In other words, traditional MPIs & EHRs are not able to present the full picture of how many patient records are not being linked and should not be linked. Verato’s Referential Matching technology is on the forefront of this state and national problem and represents a quantum leap forward in technology design. Verato’s innovation provides healthcare organizations with the best-in-class solutions to solve the patient matching problem.

I’m looking forward to teaming with everyone involved at the state and regional levels to provide our critically important service to improve interoperability and thereby improve provider, payer, and patient access to health information in California.