CA Provider Coalition to Support a State Health Information Exchange

A group of California healthcare organizations and stakeholders have banded together to support the development of a new statewide health information exchange (HIE).

By Christopher Jason

 – Connecting for Better Health, a group of California’s most influential healthcare organizations and stakeholders, announced they launched a coalition to support a California statewide health information exchange (HIE).

The need for a robust health data exchange proved crucial as California healthcare organizations battled the dual COVID-19 and wildfire public health crises, as well as its preparations for health equity.

“We’ve been building HIE infrastructure in California for years,” concluded Claudia Williams, Manifest MedEx CEO. “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that it is truly time for our state to build statewide HIE capacity, leveraging the progress and investments we have already made. All patients deserve care that is personalized, high quality, equitable and affordable. Better information sharing is critical to achieve these goals.”

The coalition stated it supports a statewide HIE infrastructure that supports every participant, efforts to combine state and federal resources for funding, and moves to encourage state providers and payers to join the data sharing network.

“Building a first-of-its-kind statewide health information exchange network in California will ensure high-quality care for every patient, no matter where they live, how they get their care, or how many providers they need to see,” said Rhonda Smith, executive director of the California Black Health Network.

“It’s a critical piece of ensuring health equity for every community – especially Black Californians, who have been hit disproportionately hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to working with this diverse coalition to make California history, and ensure Black Californians – along with everyone else who calls California home – have easy, secure access to their medical records,” Smith continued.

In January 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a budget proposal to allow the state to connect its fractured HIE networks onto one statewide network. The Connecting for Better Health Coalition said it plans to support the governor and other state leaders.

“We’re very proud to be a part of this historic coalition,” said Judi Nightingale, director of Public Health at Riverside University Health System.

“By creating a statewide HIE network, we can ensure that every California provider and health network has easy, secure access to the data they need to deliver high-quality care to every patient. Especially as the state works to vaccinate every Californian and end the COVID-19 public health crisis, sharing of comprehensive medical records is a critical next step,” Nightingale continued.

Manifest Medex (MX), a nonprofit HIE network in California, currently helps exchange data between 120 hospitals, 700 ambulatory care sites, seven health plans, 13 EMS providers, and six EMS agencies. The HIE aims to help its customers boost patient care and reduce costs across the state.

MX delivers real-time admit, discharge, and transfer (ADT) notifications to healthcare organizations and up to seven years of searchable patient medical history to improve clinical decision making, patient care delivery, and hospital savings.

“Our doctors have to make split-second decisions for patients every day – and sometimes lives hang in the balance,” concluded Dolores Green, executive director of Riverside County Medical Association. “Investing in an HIE network will mean providers know critical information about allergies, pre-existing conditions, and medications. It will save lives. Guaranteed.”

Since February 2020, MX services tripled as providers understood the importance of patient data sharing during the pandemic. In July alone, Kaiser Northern California queried the MX network 400,000 times, Sutter Health queried the system 250,000 times, and the University of California San Francisco queried the network 200,000 times.