Advancing HIE & Rural Connectivity


What is Health Information Exchange (HIE)?

Electronic health information exchange (HIE) allows doctors, nurses, pharmacists, other health care providers and patients to appropriately access and securely share a patient’s vital medical information electronically—improving the speed, quality, safety and cost of patient care.

Despite the widespread availability of secure electronic data transfer, most Americans’ medical information is stored on paper—in filing cabinets at various medical offices, or in boxes and folders in patients’ homes. When that medical information is shared between providers, it happens by mail, fax or—most likely—by patients themselves, who frequently carry their records from appointment to appointment. While electronic health information exchange cannot replace provider-patient communication, it can greatly improve the completeness of a patient's records.  This can have a big effect on care because past history, current medications and other information is jointly reviewed during visits.

Appropriate, timely sharing of vital patient information can better inform decision making at the point of care and allow providers to:

  • Avoid readmissions
  • Avoid medication errors
  • Improve diagnoses
  • Decrease duplicate testing

 Source:  HealthIT.gov

Rural Connectivity Steering Committee Workgroup Meetings

This initiative seeks to assess and support the information technology (IT) needs of rural providers to harmonize data-sharing capabilities, increase the rate of health information sharing, and advance health information exchange across Colorado Rural Health Clinics through funding, analytics, and tools to help support immunization registries, care coordination, and quality measurements in their communities.

eHealth Commissioner Sponsor: Kevin Stansbury and Michael Archuleta

Next meeting: Tuesday, April 16th, 2024 12:00 PM - 1 PM Mountain Time

Zoom Link: Join Zoom Link Here

Past Meeting Documents:

Rural Connectivity-Related Initiatives at OeHI


Advancing Health Information Exchange (HIE)

As described in Colorado's Health IT Roadmap, the Office of eHealth Innovation (OeHI) with support from the Rural HIE Connectivity Workgroup seeks to harmonize and advance data sharing and health information exchange (HIE) capabilities across Colorado. In Colorado, we have two state-designated health information exchanges - Contexture and Quality Health Network (QHN). These two organizations provide critical health IT infrastructure and real-time health information to providers growing connections and compatibility in electronic health networks statewide. If a hospital or provider has access to Colorado's health information infrastructure, they can view and share X-rays, MRIs, test results, and clinical information with doctors or specialists for consultation, in real time. OeHI-funded projects improve the quality, consistency, and type of data included in these HIEs.

Why does this Matter?

Access to relevant health information results in better outcomes for patients through:

  • Better access to, and availability of, their health information
  • Improved care team communication and coordination
  • Reduced healthcare costs

Rural HIE Connectivity

The majority of Colorado's physical health care providers and hospitals are currently connected to one of the two state-recognized HIEs, Contexture and QHN. In Colorado, many of our safety-net providers serve vulnerable populations in both our rural and frontier communities. Many rural providers do not have the financial resources, technical expertise, or capacity to connect and adopt essential health information and data sharing at their organizations on their own. OeHI's Rural HIE Connectivity project seeks to assess the IT needs of rural providers and provide implementation support through funding, analytics, and tools to help support immunization registries, care coordination, and quality measurement in their communities.

Why does this Matter?

Imagine you are camping at the Sand Dunes and you or a loved one requires medical attention for an injury or chronic health condition. If the hospital has access to Colorado’s health information exchange infrastructure, they can view and share x-rays, MRIs, test results, and clinical information with your primary care doctor or a specialist for a consultation, in real-time. This avoids completing and paying for the same imaging and tests with your primary care provider or specialist when you return home, saving money on health care and providing better care. 

In emergent medical situations, studies have shown better health outcomes and lower costs when providers have real-time access to their patient’s health record- which is available in our health information exchanges. This means less time spent recovering from that injury and more time enjoying Colorado. For those who live in rural or frontier communities, the local hospital is essential for the health, safety, and economic well-being of the community.

Community Analytics Platform

The Rural Connectivity Program supports the development and use of the Community Analytics Platform (CAP) managed by our stakeholder Colorado Community Managed Care Network (CCMCN) which offers real-time analytics to the entire rural community.

Our Community Analytics Platform combined with the State’s Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) provides improved coordination between healthcare providers; this results in a better experience for patients, lower burden for providers, and cost savings for all.

Value of CAP

  • Establish and expand data connections to make holistic patient and business data available in one place.
  • Provide rural health centers tools to optimize workflows, reduce provider burden, and improve reporting capabilities.

Current Reports

  • COVID-19 testing data, Medicaid attribution data, and admission, discharge, and transfer (ADT) hospital reports based on their patient panels.

Future Reports

  • Claims Data, Detailed Finance and Utilization, Financial Summary, Patient Episodes, Facility Claims Analysis, Emergency Department Visits, Pharmacy Claims, Pharmacy Cost and Generic Use, Contract Summary (cost, risk, quality metrics), Wellness Visit Summary, Risk Analysis, Care Coordination Analysis, Actual vs Expected Costs, Chronic Condition Trending.