Many view the implementation of Enterprise HIE as a technology-based initiative. However, the ultimate goal of the Enterprise HIE is to improve the quality of care for patients across a given area, reduce the costs of providing quality care, and enable clinicians in their care processes. In the Perficient white papers “A Business Driven Approach to Healthcare Reform” and “9 Key Drivers of Healthcare Enterprise HIE” we explore the concrete organizational drivers of Enterprise HIE in great detail. These drivers include:
1. Ensuring appropriate care is given at the correct time: Enterprise HIE is ultimately driven by the clinical goal of ensuring that the appropriate level of care is provided to patients in a timely manner. As such, a successful Enterprise HIE must be secure, accurate, dependable, appropriate and responsive to the needs of the users of clinical information to ensure that the appropriate care is delivered.
2. Promoting preventive medicine: Preventive medical services traditionally occur within a conglomerate of divergent clinical care settings. An appropriate Enterprise HIE solution must drive disease-management programs to 1) promote preventive medicine services and 2) reduce the costs associated with these critical health care services overall.
3. Avoiding inaccurate person identification for services: The key to making any Enterprise HIE work is identifying and managing a unique personal identifier that can be used to connect one citizen across a diverse network of care providers. An incomplete – or worse, inaccurate – master person or provider index is a source of serious concern. Though it can be difficult to create this unique identifier across diverse systems, there are two broad options for managing unique identifiers in an Enterprise HIE system.
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4. A self-sustaining business model: An Enterprise HIE must be born from a strong business model that is self-sustaining and not overtly dependent on grant funding alone in order to be successful. With the advent of healthcare reform, this strong business model will provide an efficient foundation upon which many more citizens can be incorporated into the existing ecosystem as will be required.
5. Decreased reliance on paper: The U.S. healthcare system is run by highly skilled people that are using outmoded forms of communication. Many clinicians still use paper files and faxes to communicate and lack the basic infrastructure to communicate efficiently regarding critical care decisions. Ultimately, an introduction of EMR will lead to dramatically increased efficiency and more exacting communication around critical patient care decisions.
6. Allowing physician practices to focus on core competencies: Healthcare practices should use the bulk of their critical resources to maintain the core competencies that drive their success. It is critical to connect doctors, specialists, clinics and hospitals electronically in order to gain the same level of safety and productivity that other industries currently realize in order to gain competitive advantage and drive efficiency.
7. Electronically moving clinical information among disparate systems: The Enterprise HIE provides the capability to electronically move clinical information among disparate health care information systems while maintaining the meaning of the information being exchanged. HIE is also useful to public health authorities to assist in analyses of the health of the population.
8. Continuity of care with multiple providers: Enterprise HIE systems facilitate physicians and clinicians in meeting the highest standards of patient care through electronic participation in a patient’s continuity of care among multiple providers. A successful Enterprise HIE effectively pays for itself by decreasing the costs associated with delivering optimal care.
9. Leveraging government focus: As a result of government focus and funding, formal organizations are now emerging to provide both form and function for health information exchange efforts. These formal organizations include both independent enterprises and Regional Health Information Organizations (RHIOs).
Today, there are enough government incentive dollars to consider this as a high priority in terms of assisting a healthcare system in deferring the initial investment. However, the competitive advantages and the alignment with the physician and patient population that are within your service area are a very compelling business case for making the commitment to implement an Enterprise HIE solution. The increase in healthcare services, physician alignment, patient satisfaction and cost reduction while improving the outcomes of the delivery of healthcare services makes the need for an Enterprise HIE solution a necessary and immediate need to help your healthcare system or state government agency become relevant and viable for the long term.