Hawai'i Island Beacon Community plans expansion of HIE

The Hawai'i Island Beacon Community (HIBC) has declared the health information exchange pilot that began last December at North Hawai'i Community Hospital a success and has put in motion plans to expand it across the island.

The HIE can connect to other regional HIEs, and eventually will connect to the Nationwide Health Information Network.

"It has been a tremendous demonstration of what collaboration, technology, and community partnerships can achieve," Susan Hunt, HIBC project director and CEO said in a statement. "We have accomplished a great deal in a relatively short period of time."

One of 17 federally funded Beacon Communities, the collaborative Hawai'i project is administered through the University of Hawai'i at Hilo.

Newly adopted state legislation makes sharing of such data easier, according to KHON2.com. The new law--H.B. 1957--aligns the state's health laws with those of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

"The new law brings the state one step closer to its goal of transforming our health care system into one that is more coordinated and patient-focused," Gov. Neil Abercrombie said in a statement. "Enabling our state's physicians to securely share patient information without worrying about compliance will result in better health care for all Hawai'i residents."

In addition to the exchange, the Hawai'i Beacon project has been working with primary care physicians to implement EHRs. Eighty percent of primary physicians and 95 percent of all doctors on the Big Island have done so, according to a recent announcement. What's more, those physicians have worked with all three hospitals on the island to standardize discharge procedures to reduce hospital readmissions and non-emergency use of the Emergency Department.

To learn more:
- read the announcement
- here's the KHON2 report
- check out the HIBC accomplishments