Cisco Systems, the San Jose, Calif.-based maker of routers and other telecommunications equipment, along with its technology partners Medicity, Salt Lake City, and Perot Systems Corp., Plano, Texas, has agreed in principle to participate in the development of California's statewide health information exchange, the California Regional Health Information Organization, or CalRHIO, that organization has announced.
Cisco has been involved in the planning of CalRHIO since its inception, said Karen Hunt, CalRHIO chief communications officer. "Now, they are actually going to be involved in the building and development of the system." Hewlett-Packard Co. already has committed to a similar arrangement, called a "teeming agreement," Hunt said. Whether that means the CalRHIO infrastructure will specify or exclusively use Cisco equipment remains to be seen, she said.
CalRHIO estimates the cost to build out the statewide exchange at $10 million to $30 million, Hunt said. "What we're building is a utility model. We're going to start with emergency departments. They (physicians) will be able to access lab data and pharmacy data and where they can, claims data, in the emergency room. There won't be any central data repository, so they will be going out and getting (data) from (Vernier) LabQuest or SureScripts and RxHub and the PBMs (pharmacy benefit managers). You have to start somewhere, so we're starting with some of the macro and will come on down. But even with that, that's more than EDs have now."
Hunt said the plan is to assess a "medical history charge" for each look-up of data to pay for the system, which will be built using private capital. "We're in the process right now of getting our seed money to do the build. The payers are not being asked to pay for the build, but rather to commit to paying the medical history charge once the system is up and running."
So far, negotiations with the payers on the medical history charge is ongoing, Hunt said.