Julia Adler-Milstein receives grant to study health information exchange

Julia Adler-Milstein, assistant professor in the School of Information and School of Public Health, has received a grant from A+ Government Solutions, which operates as a subsidiary of Chickasaw Nation Industries, and specializes in the areas of planning, managing, and consulting in health programs, health information exchanges and information technology projects.

The $129,699 award will fund a project titled "HIE Measurement for Situational Awareness” that will focus on advancing the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONC) efforts to better understand the national health information exchange (HIE) landscape and identify specific gaps in current knowledge.

Currently, the ONC has several mechanisms for monitoring national exchange activity, but data from grantees will not be available after December 2013 and the ONC does not have other mechanisms for monitoring key elements of the HIE landscape and market. This contract will produce an in-depth measurement plan for the ongoing monitoring of the national Health Information Service Provider (HISP) as well as the private and enterprise HIE landscape.

The project will also help to plan and identify preliminary measures and approaches to data collection for expanding current HIE activities. This will better help the ONC answer questions from Congress, especially those regarding the impact that the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act’s meaningful use Stage 2 and 3 requirements will have on a nationwide exchange. The HITECH Act was enacted in 2009 to create a nationwide network of electronic health records (EHRs) to improve the quality and efficiency of care given to all Americans.  

The objectives for this project will augment the ONC’s HIE measurement framework to provide greater awareness for policy formulation, including methods to collect the types of exchange services available, the numbers and types of providers using the services, and the number of transactions, among other topics. The research will also develop viable strategies for ongoing data collection and analysis and provide expertise in existing data sources and published reports that might be procured and analyzed.

The project will achieve its objectives by building from the existing State HIE Program library to identify a set of measures for understanding and quantifying the national HISP landscape. Adler-Milstein will conduct interviews with a sample of HISPs, as well as private and enterprise HIE entities in order to explore additional sources of data, assess feasibility, validity and approaches to calculation of primary measures. The results from this study will be used to provide feedback to the ONC and make recommendations for improvements and alternative approaches.

Adler-Milstein’s work on this project complements many of her other research efforts, which focus on policy and management issues related to the use of IT in healthcare delivery. Her expertise is in health information exchange and she also studies the productivity and efficiency of electronic health records.

Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013