California's latest multimillion-dollar attempt to build a statewide health information exchange aims to shave healthcare costs and improve care, but its leaders face a long-term funding challenge.
This month's launch of an ambitious statewide health information exchange in California poses an $80 million challenge to the project's organizers: sustaining an HIE over the long haul.
Blue Shield of California and Anthem Blue Cross are picking up the $80 million tab for Cal INDEX during its first three years of operation. After the seed money has been depleted, subscription fees are expected to keep Cal INDEX finances in the black.
The Cal INDEX board and other leaders of the project are mindful of earlier attempts to create broad and sustainable health information exchanges in the Golden State that have fallen short of expectations. "We have to create value in the data," David Feinberg, MD, MBA, president of UCLA Health System and chairman of the Cal INDEX board of directors, said this week.
He says there is inherent value in gathering as much data as possible about a patient such as pharmacy and clinical service records and claims information to get "the complete picture" of a patient's medical status and history.
"We've gone from paper records to digital records," Feinberg says. "The real power is when we can start using that information to make good decisions."
But designing health information exchanges that can be self-funded and become long-term players in their respective markets takes not only planning and determination, but "a sustainable business model."
Christopher Cheney is the senior clinical care editor at HealthLeaders.