Utah Health Information Network

The Utah Health Information Network (UHIN) was launched in 1993 as a clearinghouse and began offering HIE services in 2009. Their mission is to positively impact healthcare through reduced costs, improved quality, and better results through data-driven decisions. UHIN also recently connected with HIEs in Arizona and western Colorado to form a Patient-Centered Data Home.

Teresa Rivera, President & CEO of The Utah Health Information Network (UHIN) joins us to discuss the history of UHIN. She emphasizes the importance of keeping up with the pace of changing technologies and urges HIE organizations to work together to improve care for patients regardless of where they seek treatment.

I started attending the national meeting several years ago, and then discovered that we have an active Utah chapter! I participate on our local chapter board as the HIE co-chair.

The most rewarding part of being involved with HIMSS are the opportunities for education and networking with others that are committed to make interoperability work.

UHIN started as a clearinghouse in 1993. In 2007, our visionary physicians identified health information exchange as a key to care coordination and felt our clearinghouse experience would assist in these efforts. We had our first data connection in 2009. In 2014, we added notifications of hospital admissions and analytics.

In 2015, we were awarded the Advanced Interoperability Grant to expand interoperability to rural areas and with providers that were not part of the meaningful use incentives. In 2016, we connected with Colorado and Arizona to send notifications across state border lines and we also received a supplemental grant in 2016 to expand notifications to rural areas and to additional states.

The pace of change has continuously increased. Technology has provided functionality features that are now commonly expected and the baseline is no longer enough. Integration now is a must and real-time data is imperative.

In order to deliver the functionality that our community demands, we have found that we need to utilize offerings from multiple vendors. While this allows us to offer the best software, it also requires careful integration by our developers. Additionally, we need to mitigate the cost to the provider to connect to UHIN. In order to do this, we offer connection grants to subsidize the EHR vendor charges and work with each provider to minimize the time needed on the project.

We are fortunate that we already have a working relationship with the provider community through our clearinghouse. Thus, we are able to reach out to providers and help to identify their use cases and the services we offer that will provide value. Our community as a whole is very collaborative and sees the value of care coordination. The Utah Department of Health has also been a great partner in expanding interoperability.

As HIE organizations, we all understand the value of sharing data to improve healthcare. It is also important that we collaborate together and share best practices and ideas. When our patients use services outside of their original area, HIEs need to be connected to each other to ensure that data flows or follows the patient as needed. HIE organizations are the key in moving volumes of data to ensure the treating provider has the right information at the right time for the better health of the patient.

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