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Delaware Health Information Network: A Giant Leap Towards Improving Patient Care and Saving Lives

The healthcare industry is continuously witnessing technological advancements that pave new ways to enhance patient care as well as enhance the global digital healthcare system. Information Technology has been the reason behind some significant contributions to the healthcare industry with the proliferation of mobile technologies, telehealth services, electronic medical records, etc. Moreover, due to the demand for high quality and efficient healthcare, electronic health information exchange has been in demand as well.

Although provider-patient communication will always be necessary, an electronic health information exchange helps to enhance the completeness of patient records. This can further help to make well-informed decisions and avoid medication errors.

In the light of the above mentioned, it’s an honor for The Chief’s Digest to introduce you to Delaware Health Information Network, an organization that aims at improving the quality, safety, speed, and cost of patient care. Let’s take a look at how the Delaware Health Information Network aims to move forward with its goals.

The Origin of Delaware Health Information Network

The inception of DHIN took place in 1997 when the Delaware General Assembly enacted the organization as a public/private partnership. Since then, the Delaware Health Information Network has been working to advance the creation of a statewide health information network that addresses the state’s needs for timely, reliable, and relevant health care information.

The efficiencies that DHIN creates for doctors, patients, practices, and others that send clinical information eliminates the need for slower and more expensive delivery methods. Consequently, this improves the quality of patient care, patient privacy, and practice efficiency.

The year 2007 marked a major achievement for DHIN when it became the first operational statewide health information exchange in the nation. Through the years, DHIN has always been very consistent with its track record of contributing towards the safe and secure delivery of clinical results (lab and pathology), reports (both radiology and transcribed), and face sheets (hospital admission, discharge, and transfer data, including demographic and billing information).

Goals of Developing an Efficient Healthcare Network

DHIN constantly strives towards achieving five major goals that serve as the basis for interoperability among all healthcare providers in the state of Delaware. They are mentioned as follows.

·         To improve the care received by patients served by Delaware’s healthcare system and to reduce medical errors associated with the often inaccurate and incomplete information available to providers of medical care.

·         To reduce the time required and financial burdens of exchanging health information among healthcare providers and payers (necessary for patient care), by addressing the currently siloed and unintegrated model of distribution methods and dramatically increasing use of electronic means.

·         To improve communication among healthcare providers and their patients to provide the right care at the right time based on the best available information.

·         To reduce the number of duplicative tests to afford specialists a more comprehensive view of the patient upon referral from his/her primary physician and to expedite the reporting of consultant opinions and tests/treatments between specialists and the referring physicians.

·         To improve the efficiency and value of electronic health records (EHR) in the physician’s office and to assist those physicians without an EHR to better organize and retrieve test results.

Delaware Health Care Claims Database

The Delaware General Assembly passed legislation in FY16 authorizing the Delaware Health Information Network to develop a healthcare claims database. The Delaware Health Care Claims Database (HCCD), powered by DHIN, collects healthcare claims, enrollment, and provider data from Medicare, Medicaid, and the seven largest commercial health insurers in the State of Delaware, making it the single largest repository of claims data Delaware has ever had.

Each of the reports that have been developed through the database using aggregated data represents an area of interest for the State of Delaware, clinicians, researchers, insurers, and consumers. The HCCD can help lawmakers and decision-makers identify areas for improvement and growth across the healthcare system, understand and quantify health system performance and healthcare transformation, and provide actionable data and reports to help inform policy and consumer decisions.

Delaware Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment (DMOST)

DMOST program is designed to improve the quality of care people receive at the end of life by translating patient/resident goals and preferences into medical orders. The DMOST form is based on communication between the patient/resident, Health Care Agent, or other designated decision-maker and health care professionals that ensure informed medical decision-making.

Honoring patient preferences is a critical element in providing quality end-of-life care. To enable physicians and other healthcare providers to discuss and convey a patient’s wishes regarding cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and life-sustaining treatment, Delaware is working to create statute and regulations that can be used statewide by healthcare providers and facilities as the legal equivalent of an inpatient Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) form.

Dr. Jan Lee, Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Jan Lee currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Delaware Health Information Network (DHIN), the nation’s first state-wide clinical health information exchange.

Dr. Lee is a board-certified Family Practice physician with a Master of Medical Management degree and a wealth of leadership experience.  Before joining DHIN, she was Vice President of Knowledgebase and Content for NextGen Healthcare, a leading vendor of health information technology products and services, where she was responsible for the development of clinical content in 26 medical specialty areas for the NextGen electronic health record.

Dr. Lee has served on a range of national-level committees and workgroups and is frequently sought as a speaker on health and health IT topics.  Her specific areas of interest are health policy and the use of health IT to improve clinical practice and population health.  Recent recognition includes listing in “Guide to America’s Top Family Doctors” and “Who’s Who in America” and selection by “Cambridge Who’s Who” as Executive of the Year.

DHIN’s mission is to serve providers and consumers of care through innovative solutions that make health data useful.