• By: Brian T. Horowitz




    Health information exchanges, which enable the sharing of electronic health records throughout states or communities, are evolving to incorporate additional applications for analytics, “actionable” data and patient engagement, according to IDC’s latest MarketScape report.

    IDC released its report in two stages: one on “platform” HIEs July 16 and one on “packaged” HIEs July 12.

    The 16 HIE companies IDC studied for the platform report include AT&T, Caradigm (a joint venture between Microsoft and GE Healthcare), Medicity, InterSystems and Oracle. The report on packaged HIEs covered companies such as eClinicalWorks, Infor and PatientKeeper.

    With packaged HIEs, health care organizations are moving from simply sharing health records in order to qualify for meaningful-use incentives to trying to provide “actionable information” for accountable care organizations (ACOs) to collaborate, according to IDC. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” which the Supreme Court upheld June 28, calls for doctors to join ACOs to be accountable for patient outcomes rather than simply being paid per visit.

    ACOs will draw on data from HIEs for analytics purposes, as well as for collaboration between providers and from data gathered from remote-patient monitoring, Lynne Dunbrack, program director of connected health IT strategies at IDC Health Insights, told eWEEK.

    The market for supplying technology to HIEs is fragmented, according to IDC.

    Various HIEs incorporate portals, clinical messaging, information management, managed network services and composite applications, which combine multiple functions into a single software program.

    The transition to forming ACOs will lead to consolidation of HIEs, according to the report.

    “HIE is an evolving volatile market,” said Dunbrack. “There’s a fair amount of consolidation,” she added. AT&T and Verizon have been expanding their HIE initiatives, she noted.

    AxSys Technologies, Certified Data Systems, dbMotion and Informatics Corporation of America are companies to watch, according to Dunbrack. “It will be interesting to see if they remain independent or end up being acquired,” she said.

    In New York, a statewide HIE has been taking shape as the Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY) announced on June 6 it had expanded to include Brooklyn Health Information Exchange; e-Health Network of Long Island; and Taconic Health Information Community (TINC) Exchange, a network that connects health records for the Hudson Valley region.

    As part of the transition, HIEs will take a platform as a service (PaaS) form, which incorporates a software development kit so that software companies can sell them through system integrators and value-added resellers, said Dunbrack.

    “Platform plays have gone to great lengths to be easy to deploy,” said Dunbrack.

    In contrast, packaged HIEs are Web services that can be built out, Dunbrack explained.

    Exchanging data in HIEs is more emphasized in Stage 2 of the federal government’s meaningful-use incentive program, she noted.

    HIEs also need to better incorporate security and privacy measures as well as plans for financial viability, according to IDC’s April 2 report.

    Dunbrack highlighted Carefx and Medicity as two HIE vendors that allow for privacy and security measures while enabling health record exchange.

    “Medicity has a strong market penetration, fairly diverse set of customers, and both of these vendors are profiled in the [July 16 IDC] platform report,” Dunbrack noted.





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