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