Member Spotlight: Teresa Rivera, CEO/President of Utah Health Information Network

This month we are spotlighting UHIN for their work in healthcare IT interoperability. We would also like to highlight their efforts within the Utah healthcare community. Below is an interview we conducted with Teresa Rivera, CEO and President of UHIN.

What purpose does UHIN service to the Utah healthcare community?

UHIN’s mission is to positively impact healthcare through reduced costs, improved quality and better results by fostering data-driven decisions. Every day, we accomplish these goals by partnering with a broad spectrum of Utah’s healthcare community including hospitals, providers, payers and consumer advocates. Because UHIN provides the safe and secure exchange of vital health care records, care teams can focus on caring for patients, practices can improve their efficiency, and most important of all, patients can experience better care coordination.

We are also unique in the industry: we are both an HIE and a claims clearinghouse. This marriage of data allows us to help ensure providers are paid for their services in a timely manner, and that payers have the diagnostic information necessary to help them improve the health of their subscribers.

How do UHIN and HIMSS work together for the betterment of healthcare?

UHIN has been a long time member of HIMSS and active in the local chapter. HIMSS has provided a forum to review proposed rules for feedback, bring similar groups together to discuss best practices and provide education on interoperability challenges and technology changes.

How is UHIN working to facilitate interoperability between various healthcare systems?

UHIN is dedicated to the fostering and expansion of interoperability. In Utah, we are connected to all four major hospital systems, most clinics, labs, and long-term post-acute care facilities. Over 80% of providers use our clearinghouse services. Additionally, along with the HIEs in Arizona and western Colorado, UHIN pioneered a Patient-Centered Data Home (PCDH) in which notifications are sent for patients who live in one state but seek treatment in a hospital in one of the other states’ HIEs. Since it began last spring, over 10,000 notifications have been sent for patients seeking care in Utah between UHIN and the other two HIEs.

We are currently in the process of expanding the interstate exchange of records with Idaho, Nevada, Nebraska, California and Delaware.

With the award of the Interoperability Grant, we are working on healthcare areas that were not part of the Meaningful Use incentive. These include connecting emergency medical staff, long-term care facilities, poison control and behavioral health. These are key team members in the care of the patient. In addition, we have added a patient view to the HIE which, in the future, will allow the patient to direct their information.

How does UHIN contribute to Population Health Management?

CareAchieve, our analytics tool, makes personalized medicine possible for any size of care setting. From it healthcare professionals can create customized dashboards and graphs for their own specific patient cohorts. This allows doctors to easily identify their at-risk patients and proactively intervene in their care. Additionally, care providers can track the prevalence and severity of health conditions, highlight patterns in the condition’s development, and even drill down to specific demographic groups.

UHIN also serves as a conduit for care providers to submit required public health reporting to the Utah Department of Health as part of Meaningful Use. One of the current projects will send poison control data to the Department of Health for syndromic surveillance.

Anything else you would like us to know about UHIN?

UHIN is the recipient of two Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) grants. These grants allow us to expand interoperability to previously underserved populations including rural communities and those previously mentioned. The expansion of notifications across state lines is also made possible by these grants. Additionally, as part of these grants, UHIN recently launched a beta version of a patient view into the HIE, which allows individuals to view their own community patient summary with information from all of their providers that participate with the HIE.