Hawaii Health Information Exchange now routing patient data to health care providers

By Kelsey Kukaua – Associate Editor, Pacific Business News Jun 11, 2019, 1:21pm EDT

With Hawaii Health Information Exchange’s (HHIE) recent $2.5 million investment in technological investments, the goal of routing data directly to disparate electronic health record (EHR) systems used by providers is now easier to achieve. 

HHIE is a non-governmental nonprofit organization established in 2006 to enhance care coordination, improve the quality of life for Hawaii’s people and lower health care costs for both patients and health care providers. It is the state’s designated health information exchange, self-described as a third-party neutral entity that bridges the gap between health and EHR systems.

"We work on the big problems in health care," said CEO of HHIE Francis Chan. "Our single portal system makes it possible for all participating health systems to access EHR in one central place."

HHIE has made significant progress over the years in enlisting the support of health care providers to share their patient data, with this warehouse of data accessible to providers participating with it since 2014.

Its recent $2.5 million investment will serve providers and patients a community master patient index, real-time alerts and notifications, and single sign-on capability.

In collaboration with NextGate, a global leader in health care enterprise patient matching‎, HHIE is creating a community master patient index to provide health and social services providers access to the most up-to-date patient information while also linking together patient information.

"This allows clinicians to find records more readily available and also increases patient safety," Chan said.

Chan says this helps especially in the homeless community, with the challenge being many homeless patients using the emergency room as a primary care facility.

"This will drive down costs," he said. "HHIE will use data on individuals and offer a more holistic approach to each patient."

"Our partnership with IllumiCare in the EHR system eliminates about 50 key-strokes," said Ben Tutor, HHIE’s information technology manager. “The investment in our recent tools ensure all information is accurate and standardized regardless of the type of electronic health system a provider uses and we’ve layered this with security protocols to protect patient health information exchanges.”

HHIE is now also capable of issuing electronic alerts and real-time notifications to let providers immediately know when a patient shows up at an emergency department or is being admitted or discharged from the hospital.

"Often times a primary care physician isn't aware when a patient is admitted to the hospital," said Dr. Rebecca Burton, HHIE’s medical director. "Now with these real-time notifications, patients can receive follow-up care."

In addition, HHIE enables health and social service providers to log into one system to access patient health records. Burton noted that there are nearly 35 different electronic health record systems being used by Hawaii’s health care providers and HHIE is the central hub for medical data.

"The end result is to focus on treating the whole body, and specifically in Hawaii, providing whole-person health care for all citizens," Chan said. "HHIE always had the ability to capture data, but now with these new tools we can route the data to enable providers to better coordinate care, achieve better health outcomes for their patients and reduce unnecessary costs."