Utah, Western Colorado HIEs Tighten Integration

June 24, 2021
Real-time updates now delivered to providers’ EHRs across state lines

In a time when many health information exchanges are merging, Western Colorado’s Quality Health Network (QHN) and the Utah Health Information Network (UHIN) have linked their HIEs more tightly together to improve patient outcomes, improve efficiencies, and help reduce costs.

The coverage areas of the two organizations include many parts of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming and includes more than 100 hospitals and thousands of providers. 

The new real-time delivery of data between the two HIEs allows for clinical event data to be automatically delivered to the electronic health record (EHR) systems of providers who have a treating relationship with the patient and have subscribed to the services. The information will also be made available via query for authorized providers who may have a treating relationship with the patient in the future. 

The ongoing patient data exchange between UHIN and QHN is initially triggered when a patient visits any of the provider participants of either QHN or UHIN.  The health data delivered includes but is not limited to admission and discharge information, diagnostic laboratory and radiology results as well as care episode documentation from emergency room, surgeries, as well as other procedural reports.   

While both QHN and UHIN have been exchanging health data via query/response methods exchange since 2016, the stakeholders of both organizations have long hoped for the automated delivery of clinical data directly into providers’ health record systems, the organizations said.  The new exchange modalities make this a reality and have been in production since May of 2021.  The results of the exchange is already proving positive for both patients and providers. 

The HIEs used a hypothetical case study example to describe how the new functionality works. They describe a person who lives in Moab, Utah, taking a hard fall mountain biking in eastern Utah and being sent to Grand Junction, Colo., for medical care. Before this data exchange enhancement, his Moab doctors may not have known that he got hurt, much less where or how he might have been treated or what follow-up care might be required. With this new exchange modality in place, his Grand Junction doctor can query QHN for information about his pre-existing conditions (including information from his Moab primary care, cardiology, and endocrinology providers) and make better decisions about his immediate care needs.  

His Moab doctors are alerted that he had an accident and details of the care he received in Grand Junction because that information is delivered automatically into the EHRs of the Moab doctors.  Any follow-up care he receives from the Moab doctors is copied to the Grand Junction doctor’s EHR for as long as the Grand Junction doctor subscribes to his information. Both sets of physicians can collaborate on his care.