Late last month, an audience of over 80 leaders drawn from the provider, state and federal government and eHealth company community participated in a unique forum to discuss Health and Human Services Datasets. The event, sponsored by the New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC) drew representatives from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) who joined with NYeC in exploring the rich US health data warehouse, maintained at a federal level, and analyzing how it could be used in concert with clinical data collected statewide by the State Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY).
David Whitlinger, Executive Director of NYeC, was joined by Rachel Block, Deputy Commissioner for Health Information Technology Transformation, NY State Department of Health, and Bryan Sivak, Chief Technology Officer, HHS. The objectives outlined for the forum included:
- Understanding what data resources are available from HHS that can be leveraged by providers and health IT developers
- Learning about the information needs of the NY Health Homes program
- Understanding how the SHIN-NY Application Programming Interface (API) platform is serving developers’ needs
- Supporting collaboration for innovative integration of SHIN-NY clinical data with Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services (CMS) administrative claims data
Dave shared the SHIN-NY vision. This includes creating an ecosystem where IT tools enable broad collaboration between patients, providers, public health officials and payers to improve the quality of care, provide system efficiencies and improve individual satisfaction. Rachel Block pointed out that NY State is leading the nation with health information initiatives, like the Patient Centered Medical Home, all payer databases, Medicaid Health Homes and data sharing activities. Bryan Sivak, former CTO for the State of Maryland and CIO for Washington, D.C., spoke admiringly of the sense of urgency and progress made by NYeC . He expressed a hope that ways could be found to “mash up” HHS data with SHIN-NY data in order to provide great value to the community. Recognizing its commitment to driving innovative uses of data, NYeC was recently appointed as the latest affiliate as part of the HHS’ Health Data Consortium, a collaboration of government, non-profit, and private sector organizations working to foster the availability and innovative use of data to improve health and health care.
Executives from the National Center for Health Statistics, CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT described how developers can utilize APIs to access the HHS Health Indicators warehouse, containing over 1,100 health indicators from more than 160 data sources. They announced that CMS, the largest payer in the US, is on course to disseminate claims history data to Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), as well as to enrolled members via patient portals. They also pointed out that while there is much current interest in “big data,” it is “small data” that is of the greatest importance to ACOs, since these can be rolled up to support accurate and extremely valuable analyses of health outcomes. Geisinger Health System was cited as an example of a health care entity that is gathering patient self-reported medication data to ensure a complete medication reconciliation capability.
The Forum also heard from Claudia Williams, Senior Advisor, Health IT, The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, as well as from Pierce Graham-Jones, HHS Innovator-in-Residence, who described the Administration’s strong commitment to consumer access to health data. The Blue Button initiative, previously focused on downloading health information from data sources like CMS, Department of Defense, Aetna and United, is being expanded to support a patient portal approach in which patients can choose to transmit their health history to providers via the Direct communications standard.
NYeC is working closely with HHS on identifying opportunities to mash up HHS data sources with the clinical data available in the SHIN-NY API. View more pictures from the meeting.