HIEs still at odds over data-sharing

Two Kansas health information networks have yet to connect, though they face a December deadline to do so.

The Lewis And Clark Health Information Exchange (LACIE), which primarily serves providers in the Kansas City area, and the Kansas Health Information Network (KHIN), which serves most of the rest of the state, have yet to reach an agreement on data sharing.

They originally faced a July 2013 deadline for connecting, though that has been pushed back to Dec. 31. Failure to do so would mean they forfeit $1 million in grants earmarked for them, according to the Kansas Health Institute.

Laura McCrary, KHIN'S chief executive, said the infrastructure is largely in place, but the area of contention is agreement on how patient data can be used after it is transferred from one network to the other. She says participants expect information on the network to be used solely in treating the individual patient.

LACIE CEO Mike Dittemore says the hitch revolves around two accountable care organizations that belong to LACIE, but not KHIN.

The concern is that an ACO, insurance company or other participant of one network could access information on the other network without paying for it. Dittemore, however, stresses that information can be queried only one patient at a time--there's no ability to aggregate data.

Both organizations have to deal with 10 policies in Kansas on health information exchange written to protect the privacy and security of patient records.

The two CEOs engaged in a heated exchange at a May meeting over paying fees to connect. In response, state regulators placed a two-year moratorium on connectivity fees. McCrary and Dittemore continue to assure regulators that they are working together to resolve their issues.

Earlier this year, McCrary spoke exclusively to FierceHealthIT about how the organization reaches out to partner organizations, docs and patients and the information exchange's operations and business strategy.

In nearby Missouri, its statewide HIE launched just last week, connecting more than 7,000 physicians, 62 hospitals and 350 clinics. And in Indiana, a pioneer in health information exchange, its organization plans to make predictive analytics tools available to ACOs and hospitals to help them identify patients most at risk of readmission.

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