Leveraging an HIE to Achieve Excellence in Patient Care

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By Kim Chaundy and Joe Fisne

With the transition from fee-for-service to value-based care, improving outcomes and providing high quality care are top priorities for today’s healthcare organizations. Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) are one way that healthcare organizations such as Geisinger are taking patient care to the next level.

Recognized by their peers as a world-class organization, Geisinger realized that to continue to deliver on its mission of excellence, it needed to think beyond the four walls of its organization and create an information network to share data across providers and payers in the region. Specifically, Geisinger founded the Keystone Health Information Exchange (KeyHIE) in 2005 to close care gaps, execute population health management programs, and support safer more effective coordination of care across Pennsylvania’s patient population.

Current data plays a crucial role in patient care, yet both data access and exchange remain as critical challenges in the digital age. Given the disparate and diverse data sets that exist, healthcare entities find it to be increasingly difficult to share and aggregate data between provider organizations, and prohibitive to collaborate with payers, without leveraging the value of an HIE. 

Integrating actionable data into the clinical workflow is critical to improving care outcomes. Providers need access to accurate patient data quickly at the point of care to guide informed decisions and treatment recommendations. 

KeyHIE, built on the Orion Health platform, serves as the information highway for Geisinger that allows both payers and providers to exchange clinical data to form a single comprehensive version of patients’ medical records, allowing payers to close care gaps, and affording providers the ability to make informed decisions at the point of care.

By leveraging new technology, Geisinger is able to better serve its patients and members of its community.  KeyHIE has a proven track record of success with facilitating the exchange of clinical information, and providers are leveraging it to make care decisions. In March 2019 alone, the HIE reported that 273,000 documents were accessed by over 5,000 users. 

The HIE continues to positively impact patient care and provides the means for essential point-of-care decision support. For example, when one hospital went live with KeyHIE, it obtained patient information that prevented an unnecessary surgery and may have saved the patient’s life. 

Additional outcomes and improvement in care realized by Geisinger as a result of its participation in the HIE include:

  • Overall reductions in 30-day re-admissions, lower patient mortality, and a significant increase in return on investment (ROI) for patients who received coordinated pharmaceutical care, facilitated through information received from KeyHIE.
  • Geisinger’s Health Plan subsidiary (GHP) has been able to leverage its connection with KeyHIE to allow case managers to view medical records through an automated process rather than a manual one, enabling those case managers to work more efficiently and to better close care gaps for high-risk patients.

HIEs such as KeyHIE play a critical role in allowing providers to focus on what they do best – providing high quality care to patients. As new types of data, such a genomics and social determinants of health, begin to become more widely available to providers, HIEs will be foundational to future success. Given that new data will arrive in a variety of formats from both traditional and non-traditional sources, HIEs will become even more crucial, by providing the technology framework to help healthcare organizations unlock the potential of that data to deliver more precise high-quality care for the years to come. 

About Kim Chaundy

Kim Chaundy is the Senior Director of the Geisinger-led Keystone Health Information Exchange (KeyHIE), overseeing and tracking all aspects of KeyHIE operations. Kim has been involved with KeyHIE from its inception in 2005, helping participation grow from 10 to over 50 participating healthcare organizations today.

About Joe Fisne

Joseph B. Fisne currently serves as Associate Chief Information Officer for IT applications in the Geisinger Health System supporting the Keystone Health Information Exchange (KeyHIE). Joe is also an adjunct professor at the University of Scranton teaching Healthcare Information Management. 

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