Friday, April 7, 2017

Adventures in Health Information Exchange - April 2017

Those of you that have been in the HIE space for a while may remember the Upper Midwest HIE Consortium, an alliance to exchange health information among multiple states (Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and both North and South Dakota). While a true “exchange” didn’t take hold, the policy work that was done as part of the effort on Privacy/Security and Consent became the building blocks that many of today’s HIE’s in those states (and others) were built upon.
As the statewide HIE in North Dakota (what became the North Dakota Health Information Network) was preparing to launch, many worked very hard to make sure that exchange wouldn’t stop at the state borders, since the delivery of healthcare certainly doesn’t stop at our borders.  NDHIN met with South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana to pursue joint opportunities utilizing HITECH funding – calling themselves the “Square, Flat State Workgroup.”
While these groups don’t “exist” today, they set the tone for collaboration and the exchange of healthcare information in our region – and today it’s starting to thrive, which is why we launched the Koble Group – to further advance health information technology usage by providers and to advance health information exchange. 
We became a certified Health Information Organization (HIO) in Minnesota and are now onboarding our first participants to our state-of-the-art HIE environment provided by Orion Health.  Minnesota has a market-based environment with multiple HIE’s, which is certainly a different approach than its neighboring states take.  We offer more of a traditional, statewide HIE suite of services and are very committed to advancing Care Coordination and Transition of Care initiatives – and work with our fellow HIE’s to increase interoperability across the state.
We have continued to look for more opportunities to advance interoperability throughout the U.S., as well, and are very pleased to announce that our new joint venture (called Hielix/Koble Group LLC) has officially taken over the stewardship, management and operations of the Iowa Health Information Network (IHIN).  IHIN is a statewide HIE based in West Des Moines, IA.  We look forward to serving the citizens of Iowa for many years to come, continuing the terrific work the Iowa Department of Public Health and IHIN stakeholders started nearly a decade ago.
Here is the news release sent out by the Iowa Department of Public Health last Friday, making it official:

IDPH News Release
March 31, 2017
Contact: Polly Carver-Kimm
Iowa Health Information Network Moves Out of IDPH
In 2015, the Iowa Legislature authorized the movement of the Iowa Health Information Network (IHIN) into a nonprofit status, outside of state government. Following a bidding process by the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), the Hielix/Koble Group (HKG) application was selected to take over stewardship of the non-profit IHIN. HKG has more than a decade of hands-on experience forming and operating HIEs in multiple states and officially began stewardship of the IHIN today, March 31, 2017.
“Under the new nonprofit organization structure, developed with guidance from Hielix/Koble, the IHIN will continue to operate, as well as begin identifying opportunities to modernize and improve services for the benefit of Iowans,” said IDPH Director Gerd Clabaugh. “I am excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for the IHIN and Iowans.
“We are looking forward to seeing the IHIN achieve the next level,” said HKG President Dale S. Emerson. “The IHIN reach will expand to include long-term care, pharmacies, labs, home health, behavioral health, hospice, and other providers in the Iowa healthcare ecosystem.” Currently, IHIN serves primarily hospitals and physician clinics.
HKG is in discussion with Nebraska and Missouri about providing connections across state borders to better serve patients in Iowa’s border communities, such as Sioux City, Council Bluffs, Keokuk, Centerville, Mason City, and Osage. A fully functioning IHIN will be able to supply critical treatment information to the care provider at the point of care and at the time of service to enhance the patient’s treatment plan and improve patient outcomes.
For more information about the IHIN, visit
A video message from IDPH Director Gerd Clabaugh about the movement of the IHIN out of IDPH is available at

Monday, January 9, 2017

Koble Group 2017 - A Look Ahead

I'm assuming many of you have made some sort of resolutions for 2017, even if the resolution was to no longer make New Year resolutions.
Personally, I really like this time of year.  I enjoy looking back at my calendar to review where I've been and what conversations I've had, and I really enjoy looking ahead and dreaming about the future me, or in this case, the future Koble Group.
For those that don't know a lot about our company history, we were formed two years ago this month.  Our name "Koble" is Norwegian for "Connect."
We spent our first year working on primarily one project, doing integration work for a Health Information Exchange (HIE) in the state of New York.  While we were busy on that, we started growing our team going from one employee to seven by the end of 2015, in anticipation of some bigger projects and an expanded set of services that would benefit healthcare providers across the U.S.
We knew that to be truly interoperable, healthcare organizations need to remove various barriers.  Some don't have IT staff - or maybe not enough IT staff.  Others may have issues with Compliance or Meaningful Use.  To help meet those needs, we ventured into the Managed Services Provider space - again, exclusive to healthcare organizations - and we solidified our help desk team by adding state of the art tools and a new Customer Relationship Management solution for our internal needs.
As 2016 started, we added a Service Manager position and the added two essential positions - a Chief Privacy Officer/Compliance Officer and a Chief Technology Officer.
Now with ten employees, we are ready to fully engage with our potential clients to offer Managed Services, Privacy and Security Compliance, HIM and Revenue Cycle consulting services, Integration Engineering - and another service that we are really good at: HIE management and services.
We were certified by the Minnesota Department of Health in November 2015 as one of three certified Health Information Organizations in Minnesota and have spent much of the past year preparing to go "live" with our Orion Health-based Health Information Exchange, connecting providers and patients across the state.  We also provide Tier 1 Help Desk services to Participants of the North Dakota Health Information Network, and are working to provide Help Desk and other services to additional HIE's across the country, as well.
We are getting ready for a big announcement next month, which will further cement us as a leader in the HIE space and have been adding clients right and left to our Managed Services and Compliance/HIM Services stacks.
That's just a brief look at the past two years...I wanted to establish a baseline for you to figure out what we're all about.
Where do we see things going in 2017?  We know we're going to grow our client base, which means we'll be growing our team, as well.  They say it takes about three years for a business to really get going.  If that's true, then our third year of operation should be pretty fun to be a part of.
I'm excited enough to start a blog - one of my 2017 resolutions.  I've done this off and on over the years, usually a part of a resolution.  This time, I hope to make it stick.  We'll use this forum, along with a newsletter and other communication methods, to keep you updated on all things Koble, and also give you information to help you better understand various compliance and Health IT issues that may affect you.
We hope you enjoy this - and we hope you have a successful New Year!!