Do you have any plans to participate in the Iowa HIE?
We were recently approached by the state of Iowa to participate in a beta program for assessing readiness. We are already participating at the ground floor level of the Iowa health information exchange (HIE) through the Iowa Department of Public Health, the IDPH.
We want to participate, and we want our information available when and where it needs to be available. We have every intention of participating in the HIE development, and we want to be a part of the development so we can help drive the direction.
It’s going to require resources and a leap of faith, and all those kind of things, but we want to be a part of it so that we can help facilitate what will be required to make it work. We don’t want somebody just to say, “Okay, here is what you have to support.” We would rather say, “Here is what we can support, here is where we can bring value, and here is the infrastructure you need to have in place so we can participate efficiently.”
Could you explain the current assessing HIE readiness process?
Basically, it is just a questionnaire.
- What kind of internet access do you have?
- What kind of connectivity do you have?
- What percentage of exams do you do that are digital versus analog?
- Are you sharing information now?
- How do you generate your reports?
All those kinds of things.
As far as I know, we are far ahead of other radiology practices in the state of Iowa.
What has that process been like? Have there been any positives, or negatives?
You know, it is still very early in the process. We were approached to be a part of the beta assessment and provide feedback on the assessment itself. We have made some recommendations on what should be included in a health information exchange for radiology practices to participate.
One of the biggest challenges for us is to provide great care without regular access to a patient’s complete medical history. Those documents and tests are somewhere else, and who knows where they are. The patients often don’t know. They don’t remember every exam they have ever had. And then you provide a report, and later you find out that you did not compare this against a prior exam. Well, we didn’t know there was a prior. Or we couldn’t get the prior because they are still on film and the film was lost.
For radiology, a big step in the HIE would be a method where you can provide access to that prior, as the holder of that prior, to those who need it in a secure and appropriate manner.
On the other end of the stick, if we’re doing the current exam and there is a prior out there, you can easily import that into our system through an information exchange, well that holds tremendous value for us. More importantly, it delivers tremendous value for the patient, their care, treatment and diagnosis… all those things. That’s really where radiology comes into play – providing that history of information as far as a report and images. There is no easy way to do that today.
It seems a big challenge is “patient ID?” Is there any part of the readiness aspect that gets into the patient identification challenge?
They did not get that granular on that, at least at this point. I guess the assumption is that somehow you can correlate that patient to your own patient record. That is interesting. I don’t know how they intend to do that; one possibility could be in a statewide medical record number. Those common identifiers scare a lot of people, I guess.
Joe Moore is the CIO at Radiology Consultants of Iowa. As Iowa’s largest group of radiologists, Radiology Consultants of Iowa (RCI) has been providing Eastern Iowa communities with radiological services for more than 70 years. At RCI facilities, they offer the latest in high-technology medical imaging services such as High Field (1.5T) MRI-MRA, Open MRI, Spiral CAT Scan, Ultrasound, Color Doppler, Mammography, DEXA and QCT Bone Densitometry, SPECT Nuclear Medicine, Positron Emission Tomography Imaging (PET) and Computed Radiography (CR). / RCI takes pride in their staff of Board Certified radiologists who have advanced training in the areas of Nuclear Medicine, Neuroradiology, Muskuloskeletal Radiology, Chest Radiology, Body Imaging, Mammography, Ultrasound, and Interventional Radiology. www.rciowa.com