History of HIE in Santa Cruz

santacruzThe exchange and use of clinical information in the greater Santa Cruz county service area has a long and rich history. In the early 1990’s, Dominican Hospital automated its hospital-based clinical systems and began providing electronic laboratory and diagnostic imaging results, as well transcribed physician documentation such as patient history & physical assessments and hospital discharge summaries. In 1994, after receiving requests from physicians for transmittal of electronic health information to their offices, Dominican Hospital surveyed the community for needs and requirements.

Recognizing the need for some type of “Server Hub” to standardize the distribution of electronic information, Dominican Hospital prepared a request for proposal from several firms with information exchange experience. Providing the seed money for a development project with the chosen vendor, Dominican Hospital engaged the physician and provider communities to participate in the design, testing and implementation of a new system for health information exchange, even though the term HIE had yet to be coined.

Hospitals, reference labs, imaging providers and Physicians Medical Group of Santa Cruz County (PMG), a local Independent Physician Association (IPA) formed a working group with bylaws for open membership. The working group was referred to as an early Community Health Information Network (CHIN) and later a Regional Health Information Organization (RHIO). Working with the vendor, Axolotl, during 1994 and 1995, the team developed and launched a system that is now known as Elysium.

Since its launch, the Elysium tool set has developed and matured with additional functionality such as e-Prescribing and direct interfaces to a large number of physician-chosen electronic health records (EHR). In 2007, the Santa Cruz HIE demonstrated clinical exchange in the first NHIN prototype demonstration in 2007.

The HIE migrated to the Mirth HIE platform in 2014 – 2015 which added a number of new features including better support for evolving industry standards, advanced electronic forms, the integration of Direct Messaging and successful connection with the eHealth Exchange, the national query network sponsored by The Sequoia Project.

Today there is continuing utilization of HIE functionality across the service area, including:

  • 2 Hospitals CHW Dominican Hospital and Watsonville Community Hospital (CHS)
  • 3 Additional Hospital networks via eHealth Exchange (Sutter, Dignity and UCSF)
  • Master Patient Index
  • 10 Safety Net Locations (Including 3 Santa Cruz County Clinics)
  • Public Health
  • 1 Santa Cruz Mental Health provider
  • 8 Labs (Quest, Labcorp, Dianon, SC County Lab, APMG, Bio Reference, Dominican and Watsonville Hospitals)
  • 5 Radiology Imaging sites – Radiology Medical Group and the 2 hospitals
  • 2,000+  electronic users
  • 550 Providers
  • 80 connections to 20 different 3rd party EHR systems
  • 200,000+ clinical document exchanges per month
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