11/17/2008 | RESOURCES

HIE Research Conducted for Erickson Retirement Communities

After leading a team that deployed a health information exchange between the Erickson Retirement Communities’ Charlestown and St. Agnes Hospital, Audacious Inquiry was again engaged by Erickson Retirement Communities to develop a strategy for Erickson to foster health information exchange (HIE) more broadly. Simultaneously, executives at Erickson and the largest hospital systems in Maryland began to discuss how sharing patient data could benefit their organizations and patients across the state. To kick off the project, the team articulated a clear list of client goals while recognizing that there would inherently be unknowns associated with the early stages of the effort. Subsequent research meetings were framed around the goals set early in the project.

Government stakeholders and executives at the major hospital systems would play a vital role in any ultimate exchange involving Erickson residents’ data. AI’s team facilitated meetings with numerous high-level officials in Maryland. The timing of the project’s kickoff, shortly after the demise of the Md./D.C. HIE Collaborative, added an extra level of complexity. Nevertheless, the team supported meetings with Governor Martin O’Malley, Secretary of Health John Colmers, the leadership of the Maryland Health Care Commission and MedChi to garner support for a state HIE, listening to each leader’s ideas for how an HIE effort could be successful.

In parallel, the team conducted numerous conference calls and face-to-face meetings nationwide with leaders in health information exchange and health IT. The result was a strong understanding of their experiences, best practices and mistakes in developing HIE projects. The team also met with those on the ground implementing health information exchanges across the United States, to understand what has worked well and what has gone wrong.

One of the keys to strategy development for the Erickson-initiated HIE was the thorough understanding of each stakeholder’s interests. The team was cognizant of the need to carefully set the stage for multi-stakeholder collaboration among industry competitors, many of which have had previous, and frequently negative, experience with earlier HIE initiatives. Audacious Inquiry researched each stakeholder’s market position, current efforts in the HIE space, and initiatives in which it had actively or passively participated previously.

Audacious Inquiry synthesized Erickson goals, community perspectives, and national experience in the HIE space to form a value-driven strategy that deploys a scaled service offering. This strategy recognizes that long-term goals of statewide health information exchange and EMR adoption will follow after Erickson has successfully entered the market and proven itself as a leader and innovator. The strategy also acknowledges the importance of bringing a service to market quickly in an industry that has been dominated by conversations but plagued by a lack of action.