The 2nd Annual Florida HIE User Summit was hosted by the Agency of Health Care Administration (AHCA) on May 20, 2019 in Tampa, Florida. The event attracted over 100 health care leaders from hospitals, Accountable Care Organizations, State Government, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and health plans, all aiming to learn and share how their organizations are transforming health care through technology provided by Florida HIE Services. By the end of the half-day summit, attendees heard from 15 distinguished health IT movers-and-shakers who are utilizing and influencing what Florida HIE Services has to offer its participants. Notable speakers included AHCA’s Secretary, Mary Mayhew, and Ganesh Persad, Chair of Florida’s Health Information Exchange Alliance, alongside the panelists.

Here is a summary of the key moments to provide a glimpse of what the day was like:

The Introduction

I was entertained from the beginning when the Master of Ceremonies, Paul Glisson, DO, took the stage. His vibrant energy filled the room and set the stage for an engaging day ahead. The first person he introduced, was Mary Mayhew, who serves as the Secretary for the Agency. She challenged the summit participants to:

  1. Continue to move interoperability forward in Florida;
  2. Share strategic guidance on how Florida can advance health IT;
  3. Reduce potentially preventable expenditures.

She stated, “Where do we want to be, and where should we be, as it relates to real-time health information?”
Watch the recording of Mary Mayhew’s welcoming remarks here

Ganesh Persad, Chair of Florida’s Health Information Exchange (HIE) Alliance (an independent group of Florida HIE supporters), gave an optimistic status update on the state of HIE in Florida following Secretary Mayhew’s welcoming remarks. In his role as the Clinical Systems and Interoperability Manager for Memorial Healthcare System, Mr. Persad is familiar with the many challenges and opportunities that health care providers face. He mentioned how Memorial Healthcare System found success in transitioning from an opt-in consent model to opt-out, allowing them to quadruple their impact on exchanging records. Memorial also expanded their cross-organizational collaboration by connecting to Carequality, the eHealth Exchange, the state Gateway provided by the Florida HIE, and the Encounter Notification Service® (ENS®). By taking these steps to advance Memorial Healthcare System’s access to data and utilization of it, the organization received additional revenue and is better positioned to stand up future HIE enhancements.

Ganesh Persad from Memorial Healthcare System encouraged Florida’s healthcare leaders to leverage cross-organizational collaboration through AHCA_FL’s HIE technology that’s available. His message reflected, “The data is at our fingertips—let’s use it!”
Watch the recording of Ganesh Persad’s HIE Update here


Panel 1: Megatrends Disrupting Health Care Delivery

Mark Hagland, Editor-In-Chief at Healthcare Innovation, moderated the first panel of the day. On stage with him was Jay Nakashima from the eHealth Exchange, Sarah Miller from Audacious Inquiry, and Nora Belcher from the Texas e-Health Alliance.

In this session, panelists shared their insight on the policy and industry landscape affecting Florida and the nation as a whole. There seemed to be a consensus that there were many variables clouding the direction for health information exchange. However, the panelists seemed optimistic that HIEs (including the Florida HIE Services) are providing real-life solutions for their users and will continue to have an important role in the landscape.


Memorable moments from the panelists:

  • “Frequent policy changes related to Health IT are overwhelming, but we will look back as it being a ‘ripping the Band-Aid off moment.’” – Jay Nakashima from the eHealthExchange
  • “If we really are thinking about the best thing both for patients and for providers, technology is now sophisticated enough that we can craft solutions where the data could be audited, checked, and have role-based permissions.” – Nora Belcher


Panel 2: Transform Your Operation with the Right Information

The second panel of the day was moderated by Audacious Inquiry’s Samit Desai, MD. Panelists included Gloria Carbonell from Community Care Plan, David Atrubin from the Florida Department of Health, Suzanne Gruszka, RN, from Orlando Health, and Michelle Robinson from Millennium Accountable Care.

They focused their conversation on how receiving data from hospital encounters improves workflows and provides insight into patient populations. The panelists discussed the varied populations they receive data on and the utility of being able to determine needs based on patient trends. They also delved into the need for workflow automation – clarifying that automation did not have to mean complexity. One thing is for sure: data will increasingly be used to enhance care management.

Memorable moments from the panelists:

  • “Believe it or not, sometimes physicians do not report what they’re supposed to,” said David Atrubin. The Florida DoH was able to identify 21 zika cases that were not reported through traditional processes by having access to public health data.
  • “ENS truly does have an impact if you utilize the data in the right manner,” said Michelle Robinson. When Millennium ACO started with ENS in 2016 they had shared savings of $18 million. In 2018 their savings exceeded $29 million.
  • Gloria Carbonell from Community Care Plan said that her organization was able to better manage their patient populations by working smarter. Their first step toward reducing preventable ED visits was by identifying high utilizers via ENS®.
  • Using the Encounter Notification Service® (ENS®) helped Orlando Health streamline their care management workflows so they could be more efficient with their care management, shared Suzanne Gruszka.

Panel 3: Optimizing Patient Care with Technology & Data

In the final panel of the day led by Keith Wilson, MD, from WellCare Health Plans, health information exchange stakeholders shared patient stories. Individuals on this panel included  Craig Dalton from Strategic Health Intelligence, Alex Koster from Nemours, Susan Randecker from Pediatric Associates, and Matthew Waldron, MD, from Memorial Healthcare System.

Many stories echoed how HIE data is a tool that incites a change in behavior or provides an opportunity to act proactively. One panelist shared an example of how proper care management education was provided to the parent of a child with asthma after it was discovered that they had taken the child to the hospital following each exacerbation. Others shared examples of being able to better coordinate care for pediatric patients undergoing cancer treatments, as well as intervention for drug seekers. There was interest in how the community could provide better pediatric patient care through schools and the need for policy reform in this area.

Dr. Wilson asked the audience, “If you woke up tomorrow and your health information exchange data was exactly the way you wanted it, what would that look like? What do you need?” Based on the dialogue of this panel, it was apparent how care providers are aiming to balance the needs of individual patients alongside the needs of populations.

Memorable moments from each panelist:

  • Craig Dalton from Strategic Health Intelligence shared how having access to PDMP data dramatically influences clinician’s prescribing decisions, therefore making a dent in the opioid epidemic.
  • “Actual data at the PCP level can be used to improve outcomes, both clinically and financially.” – Susan Randecker from Pediatric Associates
  • Matthew Waldron, MD. from Memorial Healthcare System described how there are some conditions that he manages from start-to-finish, but there are many that he won’t. For chronic diseases, the more information that’s presented to a clinician at the point-of-care, the better.

The date for next year’s Florida HIE Summit is yet to be determined. One thing is for sure—I’ll see you there!


Michelle McCoy Headshot Michelle McCoy

Manager | Audacious Inquiry