July 2020 Announcements

Patient Health Information Exchange Even More Critical During the Pandemic

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July 2020
Patient Health Information Exchange
Even More Critical During the Pandemic

The timely exchange of patient health information has always been critically important to public health. The current pandemic has made access to patient data for public health even more critical.
Healthcare providers have been on the frontlines throughout the pandemic, responsible for screening and testing individuals for COVID-19. However, some providers are not at a stage where they are ready to exchange patient data. Smaller providers may not have the resources necessary to participate in the exchange of health information. Ironically, these healthcare providers are the very ones that could collect and share valuable information for public health because they may serve those who live in households with extended family members that make social distancing and following the other recommended precautions challenging.

The Solution
The Hawaii Health Information Exchange (HHIE) is poised to help providers share their data and provide access to real-time updates on COVID-19 cases. This will fill in the missing gaps in the exchange of health information and enhance the health and wellbeing of the community.
There are more than 5,000 providers licensed to practice in Hawaii. Each one has a significant role in helping to control the spread of COVID-19. However, when patients go to a hospital or mobile test center for a COVID-19 test, the test results may not be consistently shared with their personal care provider. This impedes follow-up care.

HHIE has begun to explore how the Hawaii Department of Health’s database of COVID-19 test results can be available for providers to improve patient care and to better control the spread of the disease. When patients go to a hospital or mobile test center for a COVID-19 test, the results can be made readily available to a primary care provider through HHIE’s system. This will require onboarding and training more providers and their staff on the use of HHIE’s system. This can include federally qualified community health centers, rural health clinics, independent practices, and Medicaid-certified providers. Watch for more details!

HHIE Fast Facts
  • As of April 2020, there were more than 1,900 healthcare providers who are active users of the Hawaii Health Information Exchange.
  • Of the 1,900 healthcare providers, more than 60% — or about 1,200 — are medical doctors, doctors of osteopathy, hold doctorate degrees or are other top-level providers.
  • The active users either share full patient data or selected clinical and laboratory data.
  • In an average week, providers access records for about 10,000 patients—more than 40% of whom are Med-QUEST beneficiaries.

HHS Adds New Requirements on
Patient Demographics for
COVID-19 Results Reporting

Beginning Aug. 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services requires all COVID-19 results to be reported with additional information for better contact tracing and to contain of community spread.

The data collected with the test results must include race, ethnicity, address, zip code, and pregnancy status (for females) and must be submitted within 24 hours of specimen collection.
“It is important for all providers to capture complete information and provide the information to the downstream system, whether it’s HHIE, a lab or other ancillary services,” said Francis Chan, CEO of the Hawaii Health Information Exchange.
The Hawaii Health Information Exchange is collaborating with the Hawaii Department of Health and our laboratory partners to leverage the Community Master Patient Indexing system to securely comply with these new requirements.

HHIE Names Albert Ogata
Chief Operating Officer

HHIE is proud to welcome another member to its executive management team. Albert Ogata, who has nearly 45 years of information technology management experience in Silicon Valley and in Hawaii, recently joined HHIE as chief operating officer.

Prior to joining HHIE, Al had been at the Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA) for nearly 20 years, most recently as assistant vice president of cybersecurity and emergency response services, chief information security officer and HIPPA privacy and security officer. Al also worked with Hewlett-Packard Company in Palo Alto from 1996 to 2002, and other companies in San Jose, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, and Milpitas.

As chief operating officer, he oversees a number compliance, privacy, human resources, and information technology development and operations. The Manoa resident has a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and is a past board member of CyberHawaii.

Ben Tutor Promoted to
Director of Information Technology Operations

Congratulations to Ben Tutor, who recently received a well-deserved promotion. Ben joined HHIE as manager of information technology in May 2018 and is now director of information technology operations,  responsible for directing the day-to-day IT operations and special projects. He also collaborates with executive management in the strategic development of new initiatives and establishes and administers IT operational plans.

Ben has more than 30 years of experience in information technology programs for nonprofit healthcare organizations. The Nuuanu resident has worked for Kaiser Permanente Hawaii, HMSA, INET, the Hawaii Primary Care Association, Kalihi Palama Health Center, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and Hawaiian Islands, and Waikiki Health.


Van Balera Joins HHIE as a Clinical Application Specialist

We are glad to welcome Van Balera to the HHIE ohana as a clinical application specialist. She reports to Dr. Rebecca Burton, medical director of the organization.

“Having access to patient health information has always been critical to timely, quality care. The pandemic has elevated the importance of this even further,” Dr. Burton said. “Van’s extensive background in working with providers makes her a valuable addition to our team, especially during this challenging time.”
Van assists healthcare providers with using their electronic medical record systems to access and exchange patient health information. She also educates providers on how to use HHIE’s electronic tools to refer patients to the other providers and to receive real-time updates on their own patients, including lab results, current list of medications, and admission, discharge or transfers from a hospital or other healthcare facility. She is also responsible for informing providers and their staff about privacy and security, protecting patient health information and trends in health information technology.
Van has more than 10 years of experience working as a certified medical assistant. Before joining the Hawaii Health Information Exchange, she had been a certified medical assistant with The Queen’s Health Care Center in Kapolei since 2015. She also served as a certified medical assistant for a private-practice physician, Naval Health Clinic Hawaii in Pearl Harbor, and Straub Clinic & Hospital.
The Waianae resident is a graduate of Waianae High School and graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor of science degree in technical management with a concentration on health care services management from DeVry University College of Business and Management. She is trilingual, capable of speaking English, Vietnamese and Chinese.
Copyright © 2020, Hawaii Health Information Exchange, All rights reserved.

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