California is a very big state and boasts some of the world’s biggest and most leading-edge health systems. Because of its size, however, the Golden State’s health information exchange ecosystem is often fragmented and siloed, with many regional HIEs serving providers in their nearby footprint.
In July 2021, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed bill AB 133 into law. It requires healthcare organizations statewide to link up their data-sharing capabilities. The legislation calls on healthcare stakeholders to determine the shape and policies of what that might look like but mandates real-time exchange of treatment, payment, and healthcare operations information starting in 2024.
Since then, healthcare leaders across California have been working in earnest to make that happen – starting with a data sharing agreement that will help govern information exchange across hospitals, physician practices, health plans, skilled nursing facilities, psychiatric treatment centers, and more.
It is, in other words, a big and important project.
Timi Leslie, founder of BluePath Health and a leader at Connecting for Better Health – the collaborative of the public- and private-sector healthcare stakeholders that are helping lead this enormous effort – joined us to discuss the policy and technology challenges around the statewide exchange and highlighted the huge benefits it could achieve for patients and for public health preparedness.
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What the existing HIE landscape looks like in California
Why it is so fragmented, and how these networks can be linked up
What Connecting for Better Health has accomplished so far
What challenges lay ahead on the road to the 2024 compliance date
What the pandemic has shown us about the need for a comprehensive HIE
Why HIEs are also crucial in emergencies such as wildfires and earthquakes
How the effort is drawing inspiration from other states’ HIE initiatives