The wobbly credibility of third-party health information exchange organizations got a boost last week after Texas Health Resources signed up to share patient data in a highly competitive healthcare market.
The 14-hospital system will join 32 other providers that are part of Healthcare Access San Antonio, which stretches from the Oklahoma border on the north down to Corpus Christi on the Gulf Coast. The exchange handles nearly 2.2 million patient records and supports about 2,400 HIE users. It's one of nine HIEs in Texas and about 150 nationwide.
For decades, exchanges have gone by various names, been run privately and by government agencies, and have had varying degrees of success. The most recent incarnation, HIEs, received $564 million under the 2009 federal stimulus law with the goal of using patient information to improve healthcare, lower costs and bolster medical research. But the increased emphasis on achieving those goals in order to get paid by Medicare and Medicaid now adds pressure on providers to share valuable data.
This spring, a research report released by HHS' Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology found that the number of healthcare organizations exchanging clinical data, such as lab test results, radiology reports, clinical-care summaries and medication lists rose from 41% in 2008 to 62% in 2013. Surescripts, a private network, handled
9.7 billion electronic transactions in 2015, up 48% from the prior year.
There have, however, been many setbacks as well.
Seven of the recipients of the federal, statewide HIE grants (in Connecticut, Illinois, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico and Wyoming) went belly up after their federal funds ran out.
MetroChicago HIE, which connected more than 30 northeastern Illinois hospitals, ended