Maine's HIE launches analytics business

08 Jan 2015 3:22 PM | Brian Kelley
First health information exchange in the country to tap its data to improve patient care
PORTLAND, ME | January 7, 2015  | Retrieved from HealthcareITNews.com

Knowledge is power. The folks who run Maine's statewide health information exchange have been keenly aware of this adage for some time – focused on not merely delivering information, but also on putting the vast amount of data they collect to work on helping providers give the best care they can.

With their partners at HBI Solutions in Palo Alto, Calif., HealthInfoNet, which operates the statewide HIE, is helping hospitals, ACOs and physician practices put the power of near real-time data to work on improving patient care.

The HIE has plenty of data to work with. HealthInfoNet’s comprehensive clinical data repository contains records for nearly all of Maine’s 1.3 million residents. It collects clinical information from 32 of the State’s 36 acute care hospitals and 326 ambulatory locations including primary and specialty care practices and long-term care facilities.

Today, according, to its CEO, Devore Culver, HealthInfoNet has contracts for its predictive analytics package from five hospitals and the state's Pioneer accountable care organization. The HIE is the first in the country to adopt this type of model. And, from the trials that took place before the contracts were signed and the work the predictive analytics make possible today, it's a model that's mighty.

Customers can use the analytics and predictive tools to study market share, clinical performance, population health and patient risk, all in real-time.

St. Joseph Healthcare in Bangor, the first organization to use the new tools, is focused on cutting its 30-day readmissions rate.

Jessica Taylor, RN, is a care manager in the organization’s internal medicine practice.
“It’s easy to capture the patients that we know need a lot of help," Taylor said. "My goal was to reach those patients that are doing OK but might be getting into trouble and get them the help they need.”
Sometimes a simple early intervention, like timely home care services for someone with congestive heart failure, can prevent a hospitalization, she explained.
"Jessica is a long time user of the exchange," Culver told Healthcare IT News. "She is focusing on the patients that have not yet gone south – people who show signs of getting worse, catching people that otherwise would have fallen through the cracks," he said, noting that the predictive data helps caregivers identify patients who are at risk before their condition gets worst.
"Every night we run all the transactions from the previous day, so we're never more than 24 hours behind," Culver said. "So that really is part of the power, is that its very, very, very current. In running that update of the data, HBI is recalculating the risk scores every day, too, based on the data. So it really is incredibly immediate, incredibly powerful."
HBI Solutions President Eric Widen noted that automated close to real-time patients assessments eliminates 15-20 minute manual assessments: "We completely eliminate that work and save the organization thousands of hours of manual time by just automating the risk scores within that."

Claims data, at best is 90 to 120 days old, Widen pointed out.

"At worst, ours is going to be 24 hours old," he said. "You basically get a comprehensive risk profile on a patient updated every day. It provides risk of many different things, which helps the care manager understand what else the patient might be at risk for – risk of ED admission, risk of disease, its kind of a dashboard of risks."

In addition to selling the service to HIE customers in Maine, HealthInfoNet is partnering with HBI Solutions to help exchanges outside of Maine set up similar tools for their customers. The two companies have met with a number of statewide and private HIEs in the past few months.
“HealthInfoNet has been a leader in the HIE space for sometime and feel we have a lot to offer other HIE organizations as they set up similar services,” said Culver. He added that an HIE needs to provide additional value to its customers in order to be sustainable.
“We believe this type of service is an important piece of the sustainability pie for the HIE and its customers," Culver said.
In the case of Maine's HIE, "the stars aligned," Culver said. "Two organizations who are generally pretty forward thinking found each other and discovered that each had an asset the other one needed.
"We had a lot of data, but not necessarily a way of doing this kind of stuff with it," he added. "HBI had a really interesting tool they'd been working on as a product of trying to predict variation of the genome and they thought they could apply to anything medical. And, lo and behold, we think we've proven that's true."


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