MD Governor: Maryland’s HIE is a Platform for Innovation

The Honorable Martin O'Malley | March 18, 2013

To support innovation and progress in health care, I have made the construction of a health IT infrastructure one of our state’s top strategic priorities. My administration has promoted Electronic Health Record (EHR) adoption and supported the construction of a Maryland HIE (health information exchange). Connecting these systems to a common platform is the key to significant progress.

Even before the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act authorized the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record incentive program, we took the lead and funded our Maryland HIE efforts with $10 million of state-level programs. The federal law has continued to backstop our efforts.

Over the past three years, the number of Maryland hospitals using electronic health records rose from 27 to 37 (out of 46 hospitals) and Maryland hospitals have earned nearly $88.5 million in incentive payments from the federal and state government for doing so. This partnership with the federal government is critical to our success.

The Maryland HIE: CRISP

We have seen remarkable leadership from our hospital community, which has helped lead the development of the Maryland HIE, known as CRISP. My administration has encouraged rapid participation and adoption of HIE tools throughout the state, and it has paid off.

Maryland is the first state to connect all 46 acute care hospitals to share real-time data, a milestone we achieved in January of 2012. Today, our doctors and nurses are accessing the Maryland HIE over 12,000 times per month to locate health information in real-time.

We believe that making this information available at the point of care will lead to reductions in adverse drug interactions, assist in faster diagnosis, and avoid unnecessary tests and procedures.

Our HIE has a Physician Alerting System

Primary care doctors can now receive real-time email or text message alerts. More than 10,000 alerts land in clinicians’ inboxes each month when patients are admitted or discharged from any Maryland hospital. This important tool enables new capabilities for coordinating care when patients need it most, and is a powerful platform for reducing readmissions by directing vulnerable patients to follow-up care. This type of alerting system has never been implemented on such a broad, statewide scale, and it was developed right here in Maryland, using national standards.

Areas of Focus for 2013

What has happened to date is exciting, but what comes next is even more critical to our health care system’s improvement. In 2013, we are focused on:

  • Growing the Maryland HIE’s user base while also making it more accessible and useful for doctors and nurses.
  • Working to deploy a prescription drug monitoring program which will be tightly integrated with our HIE to ensure clinicians do not have to go to different places to access critical data.
  • Using measurement of readmissions through the Maryland HIE to guide reimbursement that rewards better care coordination.

In a partnership with public health, we will use the common platform of the Maryland HIE to map preventable Emergency Department visits and admissions, building on successful model programs in Camden, New Jersey and elsewhere. This will allow greater focus on prevention and wellness in communities across the state, allowing us to measure the returns on our investments in electronic infrastructure with the right metric – the health of Marylanders.

Do you live in Maryland? How will Maryland’s HIE impact you? Please leave your comments below.