Colorado Refreshes Health IT Roadmap with Equity Lens

Dec. 1, 2021
State also plans to create set of core information services for identity and consent management, provider directories

An updated 2021 Health IT Roadmap for the State of Colorado envisions a set of multi-agency core information services for  identity and consent management and provider directories as well as a single state “on-ramp” for citizens and healthcare providers to send and receive all health and social information they need to share, including relevant state agency data.

Colorado’s Health IT Roadmap was originally published in 2017 with input from over 1,000 stakeholders and updated in 2019. The Colorado Office of eHealth Innovation and the eHealth Commission partnered with the Colorado Health Institute in May 2021 to refresh the Roadmap. They engaged with public and private partners from June 2021 to September 2021 to assess current and future needs in policy, funding, and technology, and solicit feedback on strategies for sustaining these efforts in the future.

The Office of eHealth Innovation and the eHealth Commission have refocused the 2021 Roadmap through an equity lens and are elevating equity goals through diverse representation on the eHealth Commission as well as funding projects across Colorado that advance equity and whole-person health. Providers interviewed for the Roadmap refresh process shared that they want to treat their patients as whole persons but cannot access holistic information to quickly understand each patient’s health needs. The report also identified challenges with broadband access and health information exchange participation in rural areas of the state.

Stakeholders identified the core information services in the 2021 Roadmap as among their highest priorities to meet their business needs and address patients’ concerns. Contributing state and federal funding from across state agencies will increase the resources available to develop, implement, and ultimately scale effective multi-agency solutions, the Roadmap report said, noting that “establishing an annual state health IT appropriation that can be supplemented or matched by federal and local resources or non-governmental funding provides a base commitment to ensure Colorado’s business needs are met.”

A state consent management service would centrally maintain patient and client consent information, allowing the sharing of information including behavioral health and social data between providers, the Roadmap report states. “Specifically, this service would maintain needed consent for sharing of substance use disorder data as required by federal regulation under 42 CFR Part 2, as well as social data to and from community-based organizations. Ideally, individuals would be able to manage their own consent through online access to an application for granting or revoking consent of their information to specific providers. This service would be developed in collaboration with the Behavioral Health Administration and be aligned with the policy recommendation for a statewide consent form and/or process.”

Resources from the Department of Health Care Policy & Financing and the Department of Human Services, for example, could support the continued development and use of identity and consent management services, which would meet shared goals for ensuring coordinated care. The Department of Regulatory Agencies, including the Division of Insurance, Behavioral Health Administration, and the Department of Public Health and Environment can all use a master provider directory, for example, to meet their unique business needs.

The report notes that with federal HITECH Act funding now ended, an equitable fee structure to help finance the infrastructure would place financial responsibilities on entities that benefit financially from the services, which may differ from those who actually use the services.

The state recognizes that it cannot achieve its health IT goals without closing certain policy gaps. A Colorado Health Information Governance Guidebook aims to provide clarity on responsible information sharing for key patient, provider, and payer cases. The guidebook, which is in development by the Office of eHealth Innovation and the eHealth Commission’s State Health Information Governance Committee in partnership with state agencies, local governments, patients, payers, providers, and community organizations, is the start of a universally accepted approach and framework.

Finally, establishing a single secure connection point through which an authorized state agency, provider, payer, community partner, or patient can access information would offer quick and easy access to health and health-related data, the report said, “so that access to data becomes a means to an end — meeting the needs of communities and patients — and not the end in itself.”

Sponsored Recommendations

Patient Engagement and ML/AI – Modern Interoperability as an enabler for value based care

Discover how modern interoperability empowers patient engagement and leverages ML/AI for better outcomes in value-based care. Join us on June 18th to learn how seamless data integration...

New Research: The State of Healthcare Cloud Security and Compliance Posture

Compliance & Security Debt Awareness Could Have Prevented Change Healthcare & Ascension Healthcare Breaches

Telehealth: Moving Forward Into the Future

Register now to explore two insightful sessions that delve into the transformative potential of telehealth and virtual care management solutions.

Telehealth: Moving Forward Into the Future

Register now to explore two insightful sessions that delve into the transformative potential of telehealth and virtual care management solutions.