Portland, Maine – HealthInfoNet has been awarded a $198,659 grant from the Maine Health Access Foundation (MeHAF) to link Maine’s statewide health information exchange (HIE) with Maine’s all-payer claims database. HealthInfoNet operates the HIE and the claims database is operated by the Maine Health Data Organization. This will help Maine’s medical community both improve health care quality and drive down costs.
“Maine’s annual health care spending per person is about 20% higher than the national average. So it is imperative that we find effective health care payment reform strategies to flatten or bring down our costs,” said Dr. Wendy J. Wolf, MeHAF’s President and CEO. Linking the data contained in the HIE to the claims database will allow providers and researchers to compare trends in health care treatment with corresponding cost data. “This kind of research will help providers and policy leaders more quickly identify and implement effective care improvement strategies that can contain costs.”
In order to link the clinical and claims databases together, HealthInfoNet will create a new system called a data warehouse. “In this system, information is reorganized so that it can more easily be analyzed to generate reports and population health statistics,” said Devore Culver, HealthInfoNet’s CEO. To protect patient privacy, Culver said the data will be de-identified before it is made available. This means patient information like name, birthdate and address are removed, to make the data anonymous within reports.
HealthInfoNet is the state-designated entity for managing the HIE in Maine. Maine’s statewide HIE was launched in 2008. The system now contains records for close to one million of Maine’s 1.3 million residents and has close to 3,000 registered clinical users. Already 21 hospitals and 58 physician practices are connected, and HealthInfoNet has 11 more hospitals and dozens of practices under contract and slated for connection by the end of 2012.