Arizona, Colorado HIEs merge

Two health information exchanges from different states have joined together to form a regional organization with the aim of driving growth, innovation and sustainability.

Named Contexture, the organization was formed through an affiliation agreement between CORHIO and Health Current, which are HIEs based in Colorado and Arizona respectively. The newly combined organization includes nearly 200 employees and oversees the information needs of approximately 1,800 healthcare facilities.

“[CORHIO and Health Current] were both growing at a rapid pace,” said Melissa Kotrys, CEO of Health Current and Contexture, in a phone interview. “So we recognized that by coming together we could innovate more, we could bring more expertise to the table, we could grow and do different things for our community, and all of that really leads to sustainability for our organization overall.”

Initially, CORHIO and Health Current will continue to provide services in their respective states as usual. But over the next year, the HIEs will integrate their teams, IT systems and services.

The ultimate goal is to have data flow from one state to another, Kotrys said. So, providers in Colorado can receive alerts about their patients if they are admitted to or discharged from facilities in Arizona, and vice versa.

In addition to advancing interoperability, Contexture will bring together diversified services, Kotrys said. CORHIO and Health Current offer some similar services, like real-time patient alerts and basic bi-directional exchange of data, but they each also have unique capabilities.

For example, Health Current has been bringing behavioral health data, including general mental health and substance abuse treatment information, into the HIE. This requires a lot of additional consents and structures, Kotrys said. Through the regional organization, Health Current hopes to bring that behavioral health data infrastructure to CORHIO.

Another key goal of the merger is to expand the types of data available to both HIEs. The organizations are combining datasets to make a wide array of information available to their participants, including social determinants of health data.

“We’re bringing additional information so we can provide a complete picture of health and wellness to our participants,” Kotrys said.

The merger between CORHIO and Health Current is the second in the country after the formation of CHRISP DC, where CHRISP, a Maryland-based HIE collaborated with District of Columbia partners to implement HIE services. CHRISP and CHRISP DC served as a model for CORHIO and Health Current as they worked out the details of Contexture, Kotrys said.

These types of affiliations and mergers are key to the evolving healthcare landscape, helping to support private stakeholders and public health entities.

“This movement towards regionalization, and the debut of Contexture as our regional organization, it really is an evolution,” Kotrys said. “And we have a huge opportunity as an industry, as a community and as a country to advance unique [affiliations] as we figure out what the future of interoperability is.”

Photo: Gerasimov174, Getty Images