There have been several articles lately highlighting some of the benefits and initiatives around expanding Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) across the nation. While they always sound good on paper (figuratively speaking of course), to those of us who’ve been in healthcare IT for decades now, it frankly all starts to sound like more of the same. The latest report of millions of dollars dolled out to regional HIEs to expand their reach, to meet a handful of new use cases, or to connect to a specific type of provider or data make you wonder at what point all of this money and effort will actually equate to better point-of-care experiences for both patients and providers. When does the juice become worth the squeeze? Something’s gotta give, and we are going to dive into how connectivity will actually move the needle for HIEs and allow them to fulfill on the promise of true health information exchange (lower case) and care coordination.

HIEs have the Right Idea but the Wrong Lift

One of the reasons that HIEs continue to holdfast in the healthcare IT world as the pinnacle of our collective efforts is that the idea encompasses what we really want and need: aggregated patient data, complete patient story, real-time capability, secure exchange of data, provider accessibility, and structured ePHI to populate analytics and data warehouses for expanded use cases, and Event Notification Services aimed at informing the care team on transitions of care. Sounds awesome, right?! Yes, more of that!

So why do HIEs continue to become bigger and bigger, while the realization of earnest goals become more and more of a mirage? Are patients getting healthier? No. Are providers feeling more equipped to care for the population? No.  Are all event notifications getting where they need to go when they need to be there in order to drive improved outcomes? No.

The issue here is a “lift” problem, and what we mean but that is the sheer cost and burden to implement this type of technology. Given the options on the market at large, it’s typically the best funded health systems and hospitals who are able to even begin to enjoy some of the benefits of HIE interoperability. Case studies can be found where success via HIE is actually a thing, but despite billions being poured into the infrastructure and vendors chasing interoperability, there are still significant gaps that plague healthcare delivery. Many of the benefits of HIEs are largely theoretical given the challenges in scaling and sustaining.

How Kno2 Revolutionizes Connectivity Once and for All (Literally)

Listen, we absolutely value the trailblazing work that many HIEs (especially those that have survived year over year in this challenging climate) have accomplished. The real issue here is that we need more, faster, better. It’s as simple as that. Costly integrations, point-to-point interactions, and cherry-picking connectivity isn’t going to improve the care continuum and reduce provider burden quickly enough to keep up with the changing needs of a really sick American population.

The beauty of Kno2 Connectivity – Kno2’s revolutionary “toolkit” for truly connecting healthcare providers (of all sizes and shapes) via simple, scalable solutions – is a resource that capitalizes on a single effort to connect/configure based on existing technology and approved healthcare standards. No costly integrations, no specialized IT department required, and instantaneous access to a whole network of providers and partners to level-up operations right away. The idea that connectivity is possible without a big name EHR or robust IT budget is shocking, but also exactly what the industry needs to meet patients where they are and help physicians easily communicate with the whole care team (including social workers, long-term care facilities, etc.). The most at-risk patients are typically the hardest to manage, so tapping into that connectivity to automatically submit ADT event notifications is a step in the right direction. Prioritizing technology that democratizes access to information and timely exchange of data to both folks that do and do not don the white coats means that we can empower everyone to serve shared patients without breaking the bank…or our sanity.