The Queen’s Health Systems joins Hawaii Health Information Exchange for patient data sharing

by Jenna Blakely (Pacific Business News)

The Queen’s Medical Center, along with The Queen’s Medical Center West Oahu hospital that is opening on May 20, have agreed to join the Hawaii Health Information Exchange network, which allows health care providers to seamlessly exchange patient medical information.

The secure online network acts as a statewide hub that electronically transfers secure and encrypted patient health information from provider to provider. Several other hospitals have already signed data-sharing agreements with the Hawaii Health Information Exchange including Castle Medical Center, Hawaii Pacific Health, Hilo Medical Center, Hale Hoola Hamakua, and Kau Hospital.

Spokeswoman Holly Iwasaki said financial details on data-sharing agreements vary because each agreement covers a different scope of services. The cost each hospital pays is confidential, she said. “However, it’s important to point out that these contracts are part of the Hawaii Health Information Exchange’s overall plan to generate revenue to support our sustainability,” she added in an email.

The nonprofit exchange launched in 2006 with the mission of providing more coordinated care for patients. In 2009, it was designated by the state, through federal funding, to implement the statewide health information exchange as part of an Affordable Care Act component. Shared data includes patient demographics, allergies, laboratory data, prescription medications, admission, discharge, transfer summaries. Benefits of this level of collaboration include greater efficiencies for the hospitals and more effective care for the patients, according to Christine Sakuda, executive director of the exchange.

“Hawaii Health Information Exchange has been able to show us new ways to derive more value from our investment in information technology,” said Hunter Praywell, vice president and chief information officer of The Queen’s Health Systems. “With the expertise of the Hawaii Health Information Exchange team, we are now customizing our system so that our clinical care teams and physician practices affiliated with Queen’s will automatically receive notifications when we transmit patient health information to them.”

The Hawaii Health Information Exchange also runs a program that helps health care providers in the state convert from paper to electronic health records. Jenna Blakely covers health care and nonprofits for Pacific Business News.