pieces of healthcare record working together as gears

What Is Possible with HIEs?

HIE technology has morphed over the years. Nearly a decade ago, HIE vendors were sprouting up all over the place thanks to government funding and grants. In fact, we had at least 20–30 vendors we were looking at in our early KLAS reports in this area. But as grant money disappeared, that number decreased, leaving the vendors who seemed to be the most successful. Now the field of vendors is even more narrow. Those HIE vendors that have survived have figured out how to solve business problems beyond getting a patient record from one provider to the other.
vendor overview advanced users only

Our most recent Interoperability Platforms 2019 report takes a deeper look at the shifting landscape in HIE. We primarily wanted to see what is possible with HIEs and where vendors are in their transition from traditional HIEs to interoperability platforms.

Advanced Use Cases for HIEs

In order to see what was possible with HIEs, we interviewed the most advanced users for each vendor. There are some wonderful use cases out there. Some vendors are doing analytics for performance improvement while others are focused on population health and using that data to feed care managers and give them direction. Still others were using HIEs as an advanced data platform in which they would plug in third-party apps to help fuel decision support. Those are just a few examples.

Vendors who are trying to offer more of a data platform are capturing data, normalizing it, and making it more usable. So the tool may look at a patient’s record, combine all the information that is important, and present that data to the provider. That aggregated data can then be used for more innovative use cases beyond typical analytics or population health.

Offering Real Value

Beyond use cases, it was a pleasant surprise that most of the providers we talked to are getting real value out of these tools. Granted, as part of the goal of the report, we were talking mostly to the advanced users of the tool, but each solution was consistently capable of delivering outcomes for providers.

InterSystems customers in particular reported the highest numbers of advanced use cases. InterSystems also offered a very consistent customer experience. Though we talked to their top customers, when we compared those customers’ overall score to that of the everyday customers, the scores were pretty much the same, which is impressive. On the other hand, Health Catalyst probably has the longest standing traditional HIE solution, and it does not have as many customers going to that next step of interoperability.

Leveraging Data

HIE solutions have thus far played an important part in data exchange. But even though I’m not sure exactly what the future holds for HIEs, I get the sense that future buying decisions surrounding HIEs are going to be more about how vendors can leverage data for other uses. The original use case of a patient record exchange is gravy on top, but from what the data has been telling us, providers are more interested in buying an HIE solution primarily as a data aggregation platform.

For more details about the possibilites surrounding HIEs, I recommend reading the full report.




     Photo cred: Adobe Stock, j-mel