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In a significant development towards enhancing the efficiency of healthcare services, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) Board of Directors has approved the implementation of Senate Bill 1369. This groundbreaking legislation mandates that all licensed healthcare providers connect to a statewide health information exchange (HIE) cloud database by July 1, 2023.

What will the HIE do? With an astounding 70% of Oklahomans having records in more than one healthcare delivery system, the HIE promises to streamline health information flow between authorized organizations. 

The HIE intends to address care fragmentation for providers while improving public health, care coordination, and records exchange. These improvements are expected while adhering strictly to HIPAA and privacy and security standards.

A nurse using a tablet to share information, thanks to Oklahoma's HIE.
The Oklahoma HIE intends to address care fragmentation for providers while improving public health, care coordination, and records exchange.

The benefits of the HIE are expected to include: 

  • Improved coordination during care transitions
  • Reduced adverse drug events
  • Diminished healthcare costs related to duplicate testing, hospital readmissions, and emergency department visits

Furthermore, the HIE enables public health authorities to analyze broad, de-identified population health data to identify treatment effectiveness and gaps in care. As of now, the HIE is operational in over 1400 locations and serves more than 110,000 patients daily.

Who will administer the HIE? The bill, passed by the state legislature in May 2022, established the Office of the State Coordinator for Health Information Exchange to oversee this considerable shift. A disagreement then ensued as to who would administer the HIE. Eventually, a compromise has emerged, handing over the reins to the nonprofit MyHealth. 

What is MyHealth? MyHealth, established in 2009 by representatives of the Tulsa healthcare industry, has been operating as an HIE in Oklahoma since 2010. It has been managing 80-85% of Oklahoma’s healthcare activity since absorbing another HIE in 2014. Leveraging the Orion Health Amadeus data platform, along with services and technical solutions from HealthTech Solutions LLC, MyHealth aims to provide a single, unified HIE to connect providers in the state.

What does it cost to connect to the HIE? To connect to the HIE includes a one-time fee for the establishment of EHR system interoperability, averaging around $5,000. There’s also an ongoing subscription fee to the HIE, which varies according to provider type and size. Notably, providers can apply for an exemption based on specific criteria such as:

  •  Type of provider
  • Financial or technical struggles
  • Size of the provider.

What kind of data is shared? The HIE will include only high-priority health information as required by Federal regulations. Sensitive data, such as psychotherapy notes or specific behavioral health data do not need to be transmitted. Patients can restrict the sharing of their medical records, and any legally obligated confidential information can only be shared with patient consent.

Providers won’t need to submit historical data. Only data from this point forward will be incorporated into the HIE. For organizations and providers already connected to MyHealth Access Network in compliance with SB 1369, no additional action is required.

What training is involved? The Office of the State Coordinator for Health Information Exchange will offer training events to assist providers in connecting to the HIE. As we transition into this new era of streamlined healthcare services, many software vendors are ready to support providers.

Experience Care—a long-term care EHR provider—is getting ICFs ready for the big changes. Facilities like Santa Fe Place Community Homes, an intermediate care facility in Moore, Oklahoma, are already getting support from Experience Care throughout this transition. Jessica Smith, the quality assurance director at Santa Fe, recently joined the LTC Heroes podcast to talk about the challenges of operating an ICF in today’s world. 

With Oklahoma’s HIE becoming commonplace, the future promises a more coordinated, efficient healthcare landscape that will ultimately serve the patient’s best interests. We at Experience Care will provide you with more updates on this evolution in healthcare.

Elijah Oling Wanga