The Hawai'i Health Information Exchange announced Tuesday that it signed formal data sharing agreements with Castle Medical Center and Hawai'i Pacific Health's network of four hospitals.
The five hospitals will now be able to connect their patients' electronic medical records to the Hawai'i HIE via the Health eNet, a secure, encrypted electronic system for health information exchange.
"These agreements will significantly broaden and enhance information exchange for patient care in communities across the state,” said Christine Sakuda, executive director of the Hawai'i HIE. "By utilizing the Health eNet, these major healthcare providers will be able to improve patient care and manage costs for both the organization and their patients. We applaud Castle Medical Center and Hawai'i Pacific Health for their foresight in recognizing these benefits. As the first hospitals to connect to the Health eNet, their participation is key to increasing the effectiveness of this system and we encourage other providers to follow suit."
"Our efforts to improve cost-effectiveness and to ensure access to quality healthcare for all Hawai'i residents will depend on exactly this kind of collaboration," Gov. Neil Abercrombie said. "I commend Castle Medical Center and Hawai'i Pacific Health for recognizing the value of our state-designated health information exchange and the potential of available technologies to further the transformation of our healthcare system."
The Hawai'i HIE was designated by the State of Hawai'i to develop and implement a statewide health information exchange infrastructure, the Health eNet, in order to coordinate health care services among different health care providers. The agreement with Castle Medical Center and Hawai'i Pacific Health sets the stage for the next phase of the Health eNet slated to launch later this fall. At that time, authorized participants, such as healthcare providers who have a treatment relationship with a patient or emergency room personnel who may urgently need information about a patient may send "queries" to the Health eNet to access patient data such as medical histories, lab results and prescribed medications over a secure electronic platform.
Facilitating public health reporting is also planned for the next phase, which will allow the State Department of Health, for example, to receive information about communicable diseases that may adversely impact the entire community, as required under current state mandates. Using the Health eNet will allow the State DOH to more efficiently collect such data from members of the healthcare community.
"This is a significant milestone for Castle Medical Center," remarked Kathy Raethel, president and chief executive officer of Castle Medical Center. "Working with the Hawai'i Health Information Exchange means that we are forging a new path for improved patient care that will minimize unnecessary duplication of tests, and will lead to better coordination of patient care in the state of Hawai'i."
Raethel added, "As the first hospital in Hawai'i to sign with Hawai'i HIE, we seek to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to quality patient care and service to our community."
"This is what healthcare transformation and affordable care is all about. These agreements will foster secure and appropriate sharing of healthcare information between physicians, hospitals, and clinics – all working together to provide the best care for the community," said Steve Robertson, executive vice president and chief information officer for Hawai'i Pacific Health. "The quality of care will improve and costs will be reduced because doctors won’t need to reorder diagnostic tests to get information that would be otherwise sitting, inaccessible, at another location."
Kapiolani Medical Center, Pali Momi Medical Center, Straub Clinic & Hospital and Wilcox Memorial Hospital are part of Hawai'i Pacific Health.