Healthcare Business News
Scott Carrell , executive director, Idaho Health Data Exchange

Leading the way in Idaho

By Joseph Conn
Posted: June 22, 2013 - 12:01 am ET

Maybe Scott Carrell was born to health information technology leadership, or maybe it was thrust upon him. Or possibly both.

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Whatever the answer, Carrell got in on the ground floor of the Idaho Health Data Exchange and has helped lead its growth to nearly 1,200 users, including nine hospitals, more than 50 physicians' office-based practices and clinics, and five laboratories. Regence Blue Shield of Idaho, Blue Cross of Idaho and the state Medicaid program have been exchange members since its inception about six years ago. For his efforts, he's being honored with a 2013 AMDIS Award from the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems.

Carrell, 49, was born in Silicon Valley's El Camino Hospital, where the nation's first computerized physician order-entry system was rolled out in 1973.

A former health benefits specialist who had worked for several of the Gem State's largest companies, he was serving as chairman of the Employers' Health Coalition of Idaho when he was appointed by then-Gov. James Risch to serve on the Idaho Health Quality Planning Commission. Risch tasked the group with suggesting ways to improve quality, coordination, outcomes and cost-effectiveness of care throughout the state. The commission formed the exchange in 2007 and it went live in 2009, with Carrell serving first as a founding board member. Since May 2011, he has served as its executive director.

Growth has been rapid despite the lack of marketing. “The hospitals are desperately sprinting to meet meaningful-use criteria,” Carrell says. “More and more providers are looking to connect.”

Digital image exchange capabilities are to be added to the network statewide this month.

“We haven't even touched on patient engagement yet,” Carrell says. “Could we offer capabilities for Idaho residents to access their medical records and manage their care along with it? That, for me, is the golden goose. We're really becoming dependent on mobile devices. Could you imagine using those systems to manage their health? If you equip the public with the information from these devices, if we can engage the public more in their own healthcare, it could lend to an argument we may not have a shortage of physicians.”

Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn

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