In our last blog post, we introduced why health information exchange (HIE) capabilities are critical to all patients and healthcare providers. We emphasized how the secure movement of patient health data can be critical, especially around the holiday season when many people travel to visit loved ones via plane or car and will need some kind of healthcare provided during their time away from home.
To refresh your memory, here are some of the examples that we highlighted, noting perhaps you or a loved one:
- is a person with diabetes and will need to diligently monitor blood sugar levels while away;
- will need to fill a medication prescription that may have been overlooked during the chaos of travel preparations;
- recently quit smoking and will need extra support during what can be a very stressful time; and lastly,
- may need emergent care and will have to go to the emergency department.
With these examples in mind, HIMSS has been collecting, building and refining The HIMSS Health IT Value Suite and has developed a corresponding framework, called the HIMSS Health IT Value STEPS.™ The framework reflects real-world values as identified in this robust knowledge collection. While this collection is continually updated, HIMSS has already collected nearly 200 examples of value that have been directly attributed to HIE. As we mentioned in our last blog post, the majority of these examples are concentrated within one of these three value categories, or STEPS:
The remainder of this post will focus on pertinent real-world examples from these three value categories to further demonstrate why technical capabilities and participation in HIE activities are essential to building a nationwide learning health system, where patient care is coordinated with the entire care team including family and care-takers, patients are engaged in their care, and providers are accountable and incentivized to provide care which results in the best possible health outcomes.
Within the Treatment and clinical category, several examples came from the Beacon Community Program that cited improvements surrounding the quality of care and management of diabetic patients. Examples included:
- Retinal exams of diabetic patients improved by 16% (Utah Beacon Community).
- Increase in foot exams for diabetic patients increased by 29% (Southeast Michigan Beacon Community).
Additionally, the Treatment and clinical category, highlighted examples of how HIE capabilities allowed for a reduction in hospital readmissions – these included:
- A savings of approximate $3.1 million dollars in hospital readmission costs (Medicaid adults) and dual eligible patients over a 24 month period (Colorado Beacon Consortium).
- Readmission rates dropped from 21% to 14% for the "sickest" Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) patients (Keystone Beacon Community).
Within the Electronic secure data category, examples cited improvements surrounding enhanced data reporting and data sharing abilities when being involved in health information exchange activities:
- An increased number of patients tracked went from 56% to 94% of acute care hospitals submitting complete data for patients’ race, ethnicity, and primary language (Greater Cincinnati Beacon Collaboration).
- An increased sharing among providers saw an 81% increase in healthcare organizations participating in KeyHIE (Keystone Beacon Community).
The Patient engagement and population management category cited several examples which highlighted progress in preventative care via increased screenings and improvements in smoking cessation due to their use and participation in health information exchange activities. Examples included:
- Patients receiving recommended cervical cancer screenings increased by 3.25% (Central Indiana Beacon Community).
- Depression screenings increased from 59% to 76% (Bangor Beacon Community).
- Nephropathy screening of diabetic patients improved by 10% (Utah Beacon Community).
- Asthma patients assessed annually for triggers increased from 17% to 27% (Southeast Minnesota Beacon Community).
- Over the course of 12 months, tobacco counseling increased from 25% to over 50% of all patients (Colorado Beacon Consortium).
Finally, several improvements surrounding patient engagement and education were cited with the Patient engagement and population management category as it related to involvement in health information exchange activities. They included:
- An increase of 84% of participants reported height and weight to calculate Body Mass Index (BMI) and 67% set a personal weight loss goal (Crescent City Beacon Community).
- An increase in diabetic patient engagement occurred when 1,400 patients enrolled in ‘txt4health’, a patient text messaging service (Southeast Michigan Beacon Community).
We hope that these brief put powerful ‘statements of value’ help demonstrate why health information exchange capabilities are critical to fulfilling the triple aim of healthcare: healthier communities, lower healthcare costs, and higher quality patient care and satisfaction.
We encourage our readers to check out the HIMSS HIE inPractice Features which highlight achievements and experiences, including reflections upon their greatest successes, challenges and lessons learned, within the HIE community.
Has your organization achieved effective value realization due to your health IT investments and processes? Ready to share your hard-fought successes with others in the healthcare industry?
HIMSS wants you to share your value realization story. For more information on the HIMSS Health IT Value Suite and how to gain the recognition of your peers as a value realization thought leader, contact Rod Piechowski.
Highlight others' notable success stories and join the health IT value discussion using the #HITworks hashtag on Twitter.