Hawaii Health Information Exchange expands service to reduce duplicate patient records

By Kelsea Kukaua Medeiros –  Associate Editor, Pacific Business News

Hawaii Health Information Exchange, or HHIE, the state’s designated health information exchange nonprofit, is expanding its offerings to its health partners under a full-service program with 4medica, a California-based health care data management and software company.

In a Feb. 14 release, officials with HHIE said 4medica’s cloud-based Health Data Quality Platform found significant duplicate patient records in the Islands.

According to Francis Chan, CEO of HHIE, 20% of Hawaii’s total records are duplicate records, accounting for 1.4 million people. He told PBN that prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of duplicates was more manageable; however, with large influxes of Covid testing, the issue needed to be addressed further.

“4medica has proven they can resolve the differences down to 1%,” Chan told PBN.  

HHIE officials said one reason the data may be duplicated is when workers at health facilities struggle to locate information on a patient in their clinical systems and create another file for the patient rather than spend more time searching.

“This results in multiple records for a single patient, none of which provide a full picture to clinicians,” officials wrote in a statement. “When clinicians lack full and accurate information at the point of care, patient safety is undermined.”

Chan told PBN, “We’re tying everything back to the unique person to be able to better serve our mission and improve our quality of data to inform policy decisions. We don’t want to keep repeating the same effort over and over.”

Since its founding in 2006, HHIE aims to enhance care coordination, improve the health outcomes of Hawaii’s patients, and reduce the cost of care for both patients and health care providers.

One goal this year, Chan noted, is expanding the type of data HHIE collects, which is “mostly clinical right now, but we want to complement these data sources with health and social equity factors, like housing and food, to get a more complete picture of patients."

“This focus on data quality, or improving the accuracy and completeness of a patient’s record, is not a new priority, but rather a need that’s been highlighted since Covid,” said Albert Ogata, HHIE chief operating, technology and compliance officer.

Although Chan did not disclose the financial investment to partner with 4medica, he said that with special projects like this one, HHIE sought out grants to help supplement the funding for the service. Normally, he said, the organization operates from a subscription model, where participating providers pay a yearly membership.

HHIE was designated by the state in 2009 to develop a statewide health information exchange that links to the nationwide health information network.

“Privacy and security of data is also a strength of HHIE,” Chan said. “We rely on compliance officers and a technical committee made up of officers who know the business – the threats –and know of ways to mitigate those issues ahead of time.

“We do not own the data, but we are always looking to comply and advocate for better security to minimize data breaches.”