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TMCNet:  New California Not-for-Profit to Operate Statewide, Next-Generation Health Information Exchange

[August 05, 2014]

New California Not-for-Profit to Operate Statewide, Next-Generation Health Information Exchange

SAN FRANCISCO --(Business Wire)--

The California Integrated Data Exchange (Cal INDEX) today announced plans to develop a statewide, next-generation health information exchange (HIE). This comprehensive collection of electronic patient records will include clinical data from healthcare providers and health insurers. Cal INDEX will allow physicians, nurses and hospitals throughout the state to share patients' health information, and will provide them with the tools to help them give their patients the safest, highest-quality care possible. The result will be one of the largest exchanges of its kind, initially providing physicians and nurses with secure, on-line access to approximately 9 million health information records - or nearly one-fourth of the state's population. Cal INDEX expects to be operational by the end of 2014.

Modeled after a public utility, Cal INDEX will be open to any health data contributor. Cal INDEX will provide the underlying data and technology platform to:

  • Improve the quality of care by providing clinicians with a unified statewide source of integrated patient information
  • Provide patients with a seamless transition between health plans or across various healthcare professionals and hospitals
  • Improve efficiency and reduce the cost of healthcare
  • Encourage healthcare technology innovation
  • Improve public health by providing de-identified data for medical research

"Cal INDEX is a significant advancement for all Californians," said Priya Mathur, Vice President of the CalPERS Board of Administration and Chair of its Pension and Health Benefits Committee. "The value to patients when their providers have access to complete information about them is better integration and continuity of care and a quality outcome. What really makes this initiative exciting is that two competitors have agreed to carve this innovation out of a competitive landscape and cooperate to improve the integration of healthcare. Together, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California provide coverage for nearly 40 percent of CalPERS members."

"The more doctors and nurses know about a patient, the better care we can deliver," said Lloyd Dean, President and CEO of Dignity Health. "As a longtime proponent of better communication and information-sharing, Dignity Health is excited that Cal INDEX will help speed up treatment, lower costs, and most importantly, save lives. This is a much-needed innovation whose time has come, and it will benefit thousands who seek care in our 32 hospitals throughout California."

Cal INDEX is an independent, notfor-profit organization. It was founded through $80 million in seed funding from Blue Shield of California and Anthem Blue Cross to cover Cal INDEX's operating costs over the next three years to support the initial integration of approximately 30 large provider organizations across the state. After three years, participating providers and insurers will provide revenue to Cal INDEX through subscription fees.

"We believe that providers and plans must collaborate to ensure that Californians receive quality healthcare at a sustainably affordable price - and a fundamental component is sharing comprehensive patient information broadly and efficiently. We are committed to moving the health system in California into the digital age and improving access to health data by the provider teams that need it in order to deliver safe, high-quality care," said Mark Morgan, President of Anthem Blue Cross. "Cal INDEX will enable healthcare professionals to appropriately access and securely share patients' medical information electronically."

Cal INDEX will be governed by a five-member board of directors comprised of representatives from medical providers, the public sector, consumers and health plans. Cal INDEX will be run by an independent management team.

"If California is going to have affordable, quality healthcare, all players have to do their part to improve the healthcare system. Although Blue Shield and Anthem Blue Cross are fierce market competitors, in order to create the scale Cal INDEX needs, we knew we needed to work together," said Paul Markovich, President and Chief Executive Officer of Blue Shield of California. We hope that physicians, nurses, hospitals, regional HIEs, health systems and accountable care organizations will feel the same way and join us and improve the health of Californians."

"I am very pleased to see this innovative private initiative to promote better care, better quality and lower costs for individual patients with the potential for improvement of the health system as a whole," said Diana Dooley, Secretary of California Health and Human Services (HHS) Agency. "This can be a powerful tool for patients, their doctors and all their healthcare providers to make the best possible decisions about their health."

Cal INDEX will securely collect and integrate clinical data from providers and claims data from payers to create comprehensive, retrievable patient-centered records known as longitudinal patient records (LPRs). Participating providers can access their patients' LPRs through a provider portal that displays data, alerts and analytics and that works with most major electronic medical record (EMR) systems. Providers also will have access to basic care management tools, including event-based alerts, such as admission, discharge and transfer alerts, and reminders.

Cal INDEX will adhere to privacy and security standards established by federal and state entities. The Cal INDEX system is highly secure, using advanced and up-to-date security systems including physically secured systems, complex passwords and modern encryption techniques.

If a patient's healthcare provider or health plan is participating in Cal INDEX, that patient will likely be enrolled in Cal INDEX and eligible for the benefits it provides. Any patient of a participating provider or member of a participating health plan who does not want their health information shared with health providers or health plans on the exchange can choose not to participate in Cal INDEX. No healthcare provider participating in Cal INDEX will deny medical care to a patient who chooses not to participate, and insurance eligibility will not be affected by the choice to participate or not participate.

Academic research institutions may be able to use the Cal INDEX de-identified data for research to benefit the public good, such as population health initiatives. Research will abide by scientific principles and will be managed through an Institutional Review Board (IRB) or equivalent process. This access will be carefully managed and monitored to be consistent with state and federal law and to ensure alignment with the goals of Cal INDEX.

About Cal INDEX

California Integrated Data Exchange (Cal INDEX) is an independent, not-for-profit organization that is developing a statewide, next-generation health information exchange (HIE). This comprehensive collection of electronic patient records will include clinical data from healthcare providers and health insurers. Cal INDEX will provide the underlying data and technology platform to improve quality of care by providing clinicians with a unified statewide source of integrated patient information, as well as improve efficiency and reduce the cost of healthcare. Cal INDEX was founded through seed funding from Blue Shield of California and Anthem Blue Cross. For more information, visit www.calindex.org.


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