The health information exchanges (HIEs) in Arizona, San Diego and Santa Cruz, Calif. have connected networks to allow patient information to follow them when patients receive healthcare while traveling.

These connections are an extension of the Patient Centered Data Home (PCDH) initiative that was piloted in 2016 by three western HIEs through the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC), the national trade association of HIEs.

PCDH allows HIEs to exchange hospital admission, and discharge and transfer (ADT) notifications for patients living in one geographic area but receiving healthcare in another. By exchanging zip code data, participating health information exchanges can send and receive notifications on patients who are away from their home HIE or “data home.” These notifications can trigger the exchange of patient information with a patient’s home HIE and the HIE where the patient is traveling, and this exchange also provides the patient encounter information back to the patient’s home HIE or “data home.”

Melissa Kotrys, Health Current’s Chief Executive Officer, sees the new connections as a demonstration of the value of PCDH. “In the pilot last year, we demonstrated the value and viability of this system of sending patient encounter alerts in real time among HIEs. These new connections are building on that success,” Kotrys said.

Dan Chavez, executive director of San Diego Health Connect, says that it just makes sense to connect the Arizona and San Diego HIEs, being neighboring states, as well as having a large population traveling between Arizona and the two California counties. “There is constant travel between Arizona and San Diego, and that means that patients will receive healthcare while they are traveling,” Chavez said. “More complete patient information results in better care, and these connections ensure better information for patients who are traveling,” he said. 

Bill Beighe, chief information officer of the Santa Cruz Health Information Exchange, says that PCDH is much more than a program to exchange patient information for people who are traveling for business or pleasure. “Many patients receive healthcare in different communities, depending on their healthcare needs, especially in California,” he said. “PCDH provides a model for pulling together fragmented patient records, and I believe that we are only going to see this program continue to grow.”

Having access to HIEs is also important when disasters strike like hurricane Harvey, where the Texas HIE is currently actively working to support local healthcare providers who are caring for Texans impacted by the storm, and establishing HIE portals within the shelters. See:

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