Dr. Jan Lee, CEO of Delaware Health Information Network (DHIN) has been spearheading the use of aggregated healthcare data in enhancing healthcare. DHIN began delivering results and reports on behalf of its first participating hospitals and laboratories in 2007. Each year, additional “data senders” have joined the network, and today, over 240 organizations contribute health data, a number that continues to grow. Not only does this rich data repository support a longitudinal “Community Health Record” and point-of-care treatment decisions, it has enabled DHIN to develop other services to “make the data useful.” For example, DHIN offers a Personal Health Record (PHR) that enables consumers (patients) to view the same data their doctor sees in the Community Health Record, but through a user interface designed for laymen. DHIN also provides analytics services that enable a subscriber, such as an Accountable Care Organization, to gain insights that enable them to be more efficient.
" DHIN provides alerts to primary care providers when their patients are discharged from a participating facility. "
DHIN strictly enforces technical and administrative safeguards to ensure access to this data is restricted to appropriate users with a “need to know.” It is notable that DHIN was one of the first HIEs to become certified under the HITRUST CSF, the gold standard in security best practices. DHIN provides frequent, ongoing training to its staff, ensuring security is top-of-mind. The frequency and sophistication of phishing attempts is definitely on the rise, requiring constant vigilance to recognize and avoid them.
Unlike many other healthcare markets, Delaware has a predominance of small (three providers or less), independent practices that are not affiliated with a hospital or health system. These practices are extremely cost sensitive, and that has been a barrier to adoption of the full range of DHIN’s data services. In an effort to help these smaller practices prepare for newer value-based payment models, the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services is making a one-time grant opportunity available to encourage practices to adopt the full suite of DHIN services, with special emphasis on sending data to DHIN as well as using the data already held by DHIN.
According to Dr. Jan Lee, in a balanced ecosystem, a participant who takes something from the ecosystem also puts something back in which is used, in turn, by other participants of the ecosystem. It has always been a guiding principle that those who receive value from DHIN should contribute to DHIN’s sustainability proportional to the value they receive., The value of DHIN as a “one-stop-shop” for access to a patient’s complete medical history has grown as DHIN has attracted more data sending participants. Conversely, as more providers rely on DHIN as that single source for all the health data they need, the more they insist that the labs, imaging centers, and hospitals they do business with must commit to sending their data through DHIN.
Every major EHR vendor is offering data exchange services and tools to query other organizations for data they may not have themselves. DHIN has an advantage of over a decade of becoming increasingly embedded into the workflow of the Delaware healthcare community. People tend to support what they help to create, and DHIN and its services are very much the co-creation of the board, staff, leadership, and participating organizations that make up the DHIN. “Our strategy is to stay “sticky” by wrapping services around the data and bundling those services into value-added packages that the EHR vendors cannot replicate,” adds Dr. Lee. “My executive team and I have regular, frequent face-to-face contact with the leadership of all health care organizations in the state. Hence, we are seen as the trusted, neutral, “Switzerland” of health data exchange in Delaware.”
DHIN creates efficiencies for doctors, patients, practices, and those who send them clinical information.