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Public Private Partnerships in Health Information Exchange, the ITUP Conference, and Arnold

I have written in the past on the importance of Health Information Technology (HIT) expansion, and I recently ran across several promising developments in this sphere. More important is the process of Health Information Exchange (HIE), where data can be obtained, transferred, and ultimately used to direct everything from health delivery to price comparison. A new online project from the California HealthCare Foundation gathers data from state and federal agencies in order to provide ratings of thousands of long term care providers that will help consumers make better choices and focus providers on improving quality. This website not only promotes high-quality care though a consumer-driven mentality, but is also a boon to California as the state spends $3.8 billion on nursing home services and where 80% of Medicaid recipients receive home- and community-based care. Read more about the project here and also visit the site itself, CalQualityCare.org. In another public/private collaboration, Kaiser Permanente and the Department of Veteran Affairs began a new pilot program today linking the electronic health records of patients who receive care at both facilities in San Diego County. The records will include data from about 1,000 patients on medical histories and personal information, though is hoped to expand to include medical imaging tests and lab results. This effort marks the first time a federal agency has linked its EHR system with a private medical organization.

A number of provisions in the health reform bills attempt to integrate data from both the public and private sectors in order to help providers, consumers, and public payers make more informed health care decisions, including:

-Health Insurance Exchanges
-Mandatory websites that provide user-friendly access to price/quality comparisons of health insurance
-Mandatory data transparency and reporting from insurance companies, health care facilities, and health care providers
-Standards and protocols in the development, use, and exchange of electronic health data
-Pilot programs to reimburse providers base on health outcome data
-Pilot programs for state-based malpractice reform
-Increased funding to collect data to prevent Medicare/caid fraud and abuse

Moving forward in the post-reform world, it will be crucial for public and private entities to continue to collaborate in order to provide and disseminate useful data. Putting time and money into these programs will instill honest market competition, improve health outcomes through best practices, reduce unnecessary variation in public/private health care spending, and ultimately improve the value of our investment into the American health care system.

In other news, Governor Schwarzenegger gave his State of the State speech today, and he had some interesting things to say about the current health reform effort. Head over to the Health Access WeBlog to get Anthony Wright’s take which is pretty spot on.

I have also added a link to the 14th Annual ITUP Conference registration page at the top right of the blog, so if you haven’t done so already please register for the February 9-10 event!

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