Cre­at­ing sus­tain­abil­ity

Modern Healthcare - - Information Edge -

Bill Beighe is the only non­physi­cian among the six in­di­vid­ual AMDIS award win­ners this year. Beighe is chief in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer of the 300provider, 100-lo­ca­tion Physi­cians Med­i­cal Group of Santa Cruz (Calif.) and CIO of the 600-plus-mem­ber Santa Cruz Health In­for­ma­tion Ex­change.

The ex­change, founded in 1998, con­nects not only mem­bers of Beighe’s IPA, but also two area hos­pi­tals, two imag­ing cen­ters, na­tional and lo­cal ref­er­ence labs and sev­eral county health and fed­er­ally qual­i­fied health cen­ters. The ex­change moves 1.2 mil­lion trans­ac­tions a month, in­clud­ing elec­tronic pre­scrip­tions, pre-treat­ment au­tho­riza­tions, re­fer­rals and tran­scribed doc­u­ments. Beighe started work­ing in Santa Cruz in 1998 as a con­sul­tant and joined the IPA full time in 2001.

He says there are two keys to cre­at­ing a vi­brant, self-sus­tain­ing health in­for­ma­tion ex­change. First, it has to of­fer enough stuff.

“Providers will find value with a ser­vice that brings them a lot of data they need to do their busi­ness,” Beighe says. “If all you have is labs, it’s not nearly as com­pelling as the labs, re­fer­rals, ra­di­ol­ogy and the tran­si­tion-of-care data that providers need.”

A “vir­tual care record” sum­mary com­piled by the ex­change’s Web-based tech­nol­ogy ven­dor, Ax­olotl Corp., in­cludes a pa­tient’s ma­jor con­di­tions, al­ler­gies, im­mu­niza­tions, con­tact in­for­ma­tion and providers, most of what would be in­cluded in a con­ti­nu­ity-of-care record, but not in that spe­cific data trans­fer for­mat. The Santa Cruz ex­change in­ter­faces to nine dif­fer- ent EHR brands, but also hosts a McKes­son Corp. EHR prod­uct on its own servers.

“We’ve been do­ing e-pre­scrib­ing here since 2005,” he says.

Beighe says he’s op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture of in­for­ma­tion ex­changes, even though many have not made it past the ini­tial stages of grant de­pen­dency. One rea­son for op­ti­mism, he says, is be­cause Santa Cruz, launched in the pre-grant era, suc­ceeded by de­vel­op­ing a busi­ness case for the ex­change from its in­cep­tion. It means, though—and that’s the sec­ond key to suc­cess— that some­one or some thing has to take both an ad­min­is­tra­tive and fi­nan­cial lead to get an ex­change up and run­ning,

“It’s go­ing to take a num­ber of years,” Beighe says. “You’re go­ing to see a shake­out of or­ga­ni­za­tions that did get grant fund­ing but didn’t cross the bridge to sus­tain­abil­ity. But I’m op­ti­mistic, and it’s go­ing to hap­pen the way it did here. You don’t need an IPA, but you do need an or­ga­niz­ing force. It could be an IDN or a med­i­cal so­ci­ety, but it has to be some­thing that moves be­yond the walls of the or­ga­ni­za­tion.”


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