29 Jan Humana to partner with WHIE on emergency department data exchange
Milwaukee, Wis. – Wisconsin’s first health information exchange is partnering with Humana, a publicly traded health benefits company, to provide emergency room clinicians with access to patient data.
As part of the agreement, Humana has launched a pilot program with its partner, the Wisconsin Health Information Exchange (WHIE). The purpose of the pilot is to assess the impacts of providing emergency room physicians with a historical view of patients.
Humana, headquartered in Louisville, Ky., has nearly 12 million medical members, including members in Wisconsin. Dr. Albert Tzeel, Humana’s regional medical market officer, said the benefits of having a patient’s historical information include fewer unnecessary or redundant medical tests. He said it also produces steps that “positively influence” the cost of delivering care.
“For these reasons, I’m proud Humana is taking steps to aid WHIE in this initiative,” Tzeel said in a release issued by the two organizations.
Exchanging patient data
WHIE and other health information exchanges use information technology to provide secure and authorized access to clinical data, theoretically improving care and lowering costs.
As part of its program with WHIE, Humana has agreed to provide a WHIE-administered incentive to providers that use the exchange.
In addition, Microsoft Health Solutions Group will provide WHIE with technology to aggregate and share health data.
WHIE already has established an Emergency Department Linking Project in collaboration with the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and metropolitan Milwaukee healthcare providers. In all, 13 hospitals now contribute data to the exchange, and five emergency departments use the exchange for regular patient care.
Kim Pemble, chairman and executive director of WHIE, said the exchange has more than one year of patient history data online. In 2009, WHIE plans to expand the number of participating organizations and expand the types of data available to participants, adding lab and imaging results and pharmacy information.