A Bright Future Ahead For HIEs… If We Focus On Outcomes. SHIEC’s 2019 Survey Reflections.

A Bright Future Ahead For HIEs… If We Focus On Outcomes. SHIEC’s 2019 Survey Reflections.

The Strategic Health Information Exchange has released the results of the 2019 Annual Survey to demonstrate the impact of Health Information Exchanges (HIEs). If I could summarize the 50+ question findings in one word, I would say “Growth”. If HIEs leverage this growth and start moving to an outcomes-based model, we could witness a real disruption in the health care landscape.

Interoperability is the buzz these days and “HIE” is typically within the same breath. Survey results reveal impressive HIE growth with process metrics like:

  • 92% of the U.S. population represented in HIEs
  • 3.3 billion messages are exchanged annually
  • 58% of HIEs have partnerships with non-traditional, community settings

What really excites me about this market is the tremendous opportunity that exists to support HIEs transition to outcomes. There are a few HIEs that are just beginning to align to value initiatives and have witnessed the possibility. One example is the Nebraska Health Information Initiative, which provided advanced analytics to improve a hospital’s clinical and financial outcomes.

Some HIEs are picking up the pace with delivering value with quality measurement. While this is a step in the right direction, this is just one piece of a much larger puzzle. As HIEs strengthen efforts to bring value to member organizations, there will be a growing need for advanced population health analytics to not only ease the reporting burden but to accelerate the achievement of outcomes.


Every new initiative in health care is focused on improving the Quadruple Aim. Process-level metrics, while great for some needs like internal-facing improvement efforts, fail to tell the external story that government and stakeholders need to know – HIEs are the enablers of population health. Communicating a clear connection between pain points and the HIE impact on outcomes, like those listed below, could be the shift needed to demonstrate the promises of interoperability.

Quadruple Aim Outcomes

COST: “Because most of the populations’ health data resides in our nations’ HIEs, we provided comprehensive analytics that reduced readmissions by 6% in five different regions, equating to $2.4 million dollars in cost prevention for our nation.”

QUALITY: “Our strong partnership with emergency medical services has notably decreased the time treating the patient at the scene, traditionally the lengthiest segment of first response, to yield a 4% improvement in mortality rates.”

CONSUMER EXPERIENCE: “We made an advanced directive registry and analytics that allowed teams to proactively close gaps to assure patients’ most intimate life wishes were adhered to, while reducing inpatient utilization by 8%.”

PROVIDER EXPERIENCE: “We took an active role in reducing the reporting burden so that those in the position to improve our system can do so.  There was an aggregate 7% improvement across quality metrics yielding positive payment adjustments for our physicians and earlier cancer detection for more than 100 patients.”

Data can rationalize health care1 and HIEs are best positioned to demonstrate this capability. Providers and teams can fire fight an information gap in the moment by using data that is in the HIE but what is stopping the same problem from occurring with the very next patient? Process is the U.S. health care’s biggest problem2 and HIEs can leave a bigger footprint by providing analytics that support system improvements to improve care for every patient, every time.

With the continued push from CMS and other payers to value-based care, I am looking forward to seeing HIEs realize how our product and service directly meets these needs. The process metrics shared in this year’s findings were leading indicators that the right trends are in play. Over the last several years, KPI Ninja’s focus on population health innovations, such as HIE-level utilization metrics and risk stratification, have dramatically impacted a HIE’s ability to not only enhance care delivery but advance the HIE value proposition beyond what was possible before. This is what drives us to share our story and deliver solutions that serve a clear purpose: disrupt health care by supporting HIEs and improving processes within every type of entity.


  1. Turner, M. A., Walker, P. D., & Moore, K. C. (2020). Data for good: Promoting safety, health, and inclusion. PERC. Retrieved from: https://www.perc.net/publications/data-for-good-promoting-safety-health-inclusion/
  2. Toussaint, J. S., & Correia, K. (2018). Why process is U.S. health care’s biggest problem. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from: https://hbr.org/2018/03/why-process-is-u-s-health-cares-biggest-problem

Renee Towne

About the Author
Renee Towne
VP of Population Health at KPI Ninja, Inc.
Renee provides operational leadership of quality initiatives at KPI Ninja. Towne has a background in occupational therapy, education and experience in operational excellence across a variety of healthcare domains. Based on prior experience as a clinician that drove outcomes patient by patient, she is leaving a larger footprint by improving health care more comprehensively, population by population.

About KPI Ninja
KPI Ninja is a data analytics company that helps healthcare organizations accelerate their quality, safety, and financial goals with a unique combination of software and service. We are differentiated by our signature mix of technology, performance management consulting and healthcare expertise. We don’t merely offer software solutions but work shoulder to shoulder with clients to help them draw on the power of analytics and continuous improvement methodologies to become more efficient. In harmony with our data-centered ethos, we truly believe that our success is strongly co-related with yours.

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