Chicagoland Hospitals Plan Big Health Information Exchange

More than 150 Chicago-area hospitals and health-care organizations plan what could be the largest health information exchange in the U.S., serving 9.4 million people.

by / April 26, 2011

More than 150 Chicago-area hospitals and health-care organizations are planning what the participants believe could be the largest health information exchange in the U.S., serving 9.4 million people.

The Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council (MCHC) plans to develop the MetroChicago Health Information Exchange, which will use enterprise health intelligence platform Microsoft Amalga. CSC will provide project management, implementation, hosting and support services, according to a news release Monday, April 25, from the council. Software components from HealthUnity will work in combination with Amalga.

The MetroChicago HIE is expected to result in decreased costs, fewer redundant tests, and reduced time spent on collecting patient data, according to the MCHC, which includes hospitals and organizations in an eight-county area. The HIE will be funded by the participating hospitals and health-care organizations, rather than one-time grants.

“MCHC is charting a new course with the MetroChicago HIE,” said Mary Anne Kelly, the council’s vice president, in a statement. “The HIE will be one of the largest in the country and will allow our region’s health-care market to improve efficiency by creating a network where health information flows with the patient, no matter where care is received. The reaction from local hospitals has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Seventy percent of the hospitals in the Chicago metro area have become founding members in the HIE, she added.

Mark Roman, president of the CSC Global Healthcare Group, said the HIE will give the health-care council “the ability to the ability to analyze data across populations, enhance quality of care within that community and use the data to improve coordination across the continuum of care.”

The first two use cases to be deployed will be Clinical Summary — Emergency Department (ED) Linking, allowing authorized health-care providers to see a consolidated view of the patient’s medical history, with input regarding test results, problems and medication information from other providers across the region. Emerging outbreaks of influenza and disease will also be monitored through data fed into the HIE.

Cities, regions and states are collaborating to build HIEs that conform to privacy rules and data exchange standards sets forth in congressional legislation passed in 2009 called the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. The bill invests $20 billion in health IT technology and gives doctors financial incentives to use health IT in their practices.