A number of media outlets are running coverage on the CRISP plan for Maryland health information exchange. We have linked to them here.

Also, here is Audacious Inquiry’s press release on the plan submission:


Submitted Plan Enables Increased Patient Safety, Improves Quality, and Presents Cost Savings
Columbia, MD (February 25, 2009) – Audacious Inquiry, LLC, a leading innovative management and technology consulting firm headquartered in Howard County’s Center for Business and Technology Development’s NeoTech Incubator, has announced this week the submission of a comprehensive plan for a statewide health information exchange (HIE).

Audacious Inquiry functioned as lead project manager and as a contributor to the Maryland HIE planning process and work product. The submitted plan is the result of a nine-month collaboration among several prominent Maryland healthcare institutions, including Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, MedStar Health, the University of Maryland Medical System, and Erickson Retirement Communities. Widespread adoption of health information technology can enable improvements in healthcare quality, prevent medical errors, and reduce healthcare costs by delivering essential information at the point of care. The plan addresses issues related to governance, privacy and security, technical architecture, hardware and software, implementation costs, and financial sustainability.

The group, whose members have been meeting as the Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients (CRISP), presented its plan to the Maryland Health Care Commission and the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission, which funded the initiative. A copy of the plan was also presented to Gov. Martin O’Malley.

“Developing an HIE in Maryland is an opportunity that can enable increases in patient safety, improve quality and drive towards meaningful cost savings. To live up to the promise, it’s important that a wide range of stakeholders, from policymakers to providers to technologists, embrace a collaborative spirit and a long-term vision,” said Scott Afzal, Director of Health Information Systems for Audacious Inquiry and lead project manager for CRISP.

“I am delighted to hear that Audacious Inquiry has been the lead project manager and a major contributor to the collaborative effort to present this inclusive plan for the statewide health information exchange,” said Carol Morrison, Director of the NeoTech Incubator. “We’re honored that some of this important work on behalf of all Marylanders has been carried out in Howard County.”

The CRISP proposal to build a secure, standards-based platform for exchanging health information puts patients at its center. In the future exchange, patients will enjoy a high degree of flexibility and control over how and when to share their personal health information. Providers such as physicians’ practices and hospitals will benefit from access to information that was previously unavailable in real-time, helping to reduce unnecessary tests and prevent drug interactions. CRISP recommends that the statewide HIE pursue an incremental growth strategy, building from individual “use cases”—individual HIE services that have a demonstrated need and demonstrable clinical value to patients and care providers. In this way, HIE growth is driven by clinical value and fosters near-term progress while planning for long-term success.

Within the context of widespread health IT adoption and interconnectivity, incremental improvements in care quality and cost offer the prospect of transforming the American healthcare system, where spending on healthcare currently amounts to approximately 16 percent of GDP, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ national health expenditure data.

“The CRISP planning process was extremely encouraging—the leadership of hospital systems, government agencies, advocacy groups for consumers and the underserved, and private-sector healthcare organizations set aside some of the underlying competitive forces to develop this plan which, we all believe, will serve Marylanders well as we move into an HIT-enabled future,” Afzal said.

CRISP’s was one of two plans submitted to the Maryland Health Care Commission and the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission. This summer, based on insights gained from the plans, the state will solicit proposals to build the statewide HIE. It intends to fund the implementation through its hospital rate-setting mechanism.

In addition to Audacious Inquiry, Erickson and the three hospital systems, participants in the CRISP planning process included:

  • Baltimore Medical System
  • CareFirst
  • Community Health Integrated Partnership
  • Dynamed Solutions
  • LifeBridge Health
  • MedChi
  • Northrup Grumman
  • Ober|Kaler
  • Primary Care Coalition
  • The Shepherd’s Clinic
  • St. Joseph Medical Center
  • The Summit Health Institute for Research and Education

About Audacious Inquiry, LLC: Audacious Inquiry (, an innovative management consulting firm, works as a strategic partner to businesses, professional associations, non-profits, and government agencies to maximize the positive outcomes and minimize the risks of information-technology and marketing initiatives. Its health information systems practice offers a range of services, including:

  • Health information exchange planning and implementation
  • Personal health records and other web applications development, with certified expertise in Microsoft HealthVault™
  • Electronic medical record (EMR) implementation, workflow design, forms development, and support, with expertise in GE Centricity™
  • Health IT systems integration, policy and strategy consulting