HIE technology has morphed over the years. Nearly a decade ago, HIE vendors were sprouting up all over the place thanks to government funding and grants. In fact, we looked at least 20 to 30 vendors in this space in our early reports. But as grant money disappeared, that number decreased, leaving those who seemed to be the most successful.
Now the field of vendors is even narrower. The surviving HIE vendors have figured out how to solve business problems beyond getting a patient record from one provider to the other.
Our most recent Interoperability Platforms 2019 report takes a deeper look at the shifting landscape in HIE. We primarily wanted to determine what is possible with HIEs, and where vendors are in their transition from traditional HIEs to interoperability platforms.
Advanced Use Cases
In order to understand what’s possible with HIEs, we interviewed the most advanced users for each vendor. There are some impressive use cases out there. Some vendors are doing analytics for performance improvement while others are focused on population health and using that data to feed care managers and give them direction. Others are using HIEs as an advanced data platform in which third-party applications can be plugged in to help fuel decision support. Those are just a few examples.
Vendors looking to offer a more robust data platform are capturing data, normalizing it, and improving usability. The tool may look at a patient’s record, combine all the information that is important, and present that data to the provider. That aggregated data can then be used for more innovative use cases beyond typical analytics or population health.
Offering Real Value
Beyond use cases, it was a pleasant surprise to see that most of the providers we talked to are getting real value out of these tools. Granted, as part of the goal of the report, we were talking mostly to the advanced users of the tool, but each solution was consistently capable of delivering outcomes for providers.
In terms of specific vendors, InterSystems customers reported the highest numbers of advanced use cases, and had a very consistent experience. Although we talked to their top customers — which is important to point out — when we compared their overall score to that of the everyday customers, the scores were pretty much the same, which is noteworthy. On the other hand, Health Catalyst probably has the longest standing traditional HIE solution, but it does not have as many customers going to the next step of interoperability.
HIE solutions have played an important part in data exchange so far. And although I’m not sure exactly what the future holds for HIEs, I get the sense that buying decisions surrounding HIEs will revolve more on how vendors can leverage data for other uses. The original use case of a patient record exchange is gravy on top, but from what the data has been telling us, providers are more interested in buying an HIE solution as a data aggregation platform.
For more details about the possibilities surrounding HIEs, I recommend reading the full report.