Particle Health, a developer-friendly API platform for bi-directional healthcare data exchange, announced the availability of its white paper that highlights the most comprehensive view of Health Information Network data performance available to date and provides vital information to gain a true understanding of healthcare interoperability.
The paper, 2023: State of U.S. Healthcare’s National Network Data Exchanges, analyzes not only quantitative comparisons of the data currently exchanged on HINs but also the work that still needs to be done in order to spread the true value of the networks across all stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem. The report also details critical information on how to successfully leverage HIN data when building digital healthcare tools and operating healthcare organizations or digital platforms.
The recent paper revealed that the nation’s three largest Health Information Networks have indexed healthcare records for the vast majority of Americans, as shown by Particle’s platform finding data across HINs for about nine out of every 10 patients searched for. The CommonWell Health Alliance has access to 29,000 sites and 153 million individuals; Carequality has access to 55,000 sites and 300,000,000 document exchanges per month; and eHealth Exchange has access to 75,000 sites and 120 million individuals. A sample of queryable data found that a plurality (about 45%) of health data available on HINs was generated within the past three years.
To help digital health organizations looking to gain deeper insights into how to search and return patient data more successfully on HINs, Particle Health studied its own technical data from connecting to the three major HINs. By mapping out each network’s endpoints in the U.S., the company was able to rank states by their endpoints per capita. Particle Health found that in 2022, on average:
- Query success rates (requests from doctors in which their patients’ data was returned) varied widely by state – from a low of 37.9% in Montana to 95% in Michigan
- Endpoints per state were diverse, with one network listing three endpoints in a state and another having more than 4,000 in a different state
- 51.3 files were returned per successful endpoint match
- There were over 2.3 matching endpoints per patient query
- A query completion took one minute
- 134 files were returned per patient
“No matter who you treat, it’s very likely that your patients’ medical records can be found on Health Information Networks,” explained Troy Bannister, CEO of Particle Health. “Today, clinicians can access these networks. Patients, insurers and other stakeholders may not realize they’ll soon be able to directly obtain relevant records as well. We’re about to enter a game-changing era in healthcare as Health Information Network access expands.”
For this paper, Particle Health also reviewed upcoming HIN improvements and health IT landscape changes that will likely drive a surge in requests for data. Two notable changes include:
- The Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA), a government initiative that’s leading to nationwide baseline standards for clinical data sharing, will re-order the landscape for HINs with participation in data exchange with Qualified Health Information Networks (QHINs). These specialized HINs will connect to each other, serving as the core infrastructure for healthcare data exchange.
- The 2016 21st Century Cures Act makes it clear that healthcare organizations must respond to requests from individuals in technically feasible ways – a policy called Anti-Information Blocking – with enforcement that officially began this past October. If a doctor can get records from a HIN, then patients should be able to access them in that same manner as well. Particle has identified how HINs are still playing catch up with the rule, while sorting through complicated multi-stakeholder policy, security and technical nuance.
A Developer-Friendly Approach to Consolidate Network Access
Direct integration with a HIN is prohibitively difficult for most organizations, as a great deal of specialized work needs to be done to maximize the value of network connectivity. Particle Health was founded to make a wide array of diverse network data accessible and actionable for the many stakeholders and organizations that would benefit from network participation. In its role, the company consolidates each network within a single API implementation, making it manageable to leverage the data from multiple HINs covering over 270 million patient lives.
Bannister said, “Many organizations simply don’t know that this fantasy – a nationwide way to locate and exchange medical records – already exists. With our birds-eye view of different Health Information Networks, Particle Health has seen provider organizations use patient data to efficiently improve outcomes. That’s why we’re working hard to make Health Information Networks more accessible to new digital health participants.”