News Feature | August 21, 2014

Maryland HIE Leverages Data For Targeted Care

Katie Wike

By Katie Wike, contributing writer

Targeted Care With Data

In Maryland, the state health information exchange is using technology to transform healthcare.

The state of Maryland is doing something new with health technology - harnessing the power of IT to reduce costs by identifying at-risk patients and helping doctors provide targeted care. Business Insider explains Maryland's health information exchange, the Chesapeake Regional Information System for our Patients (CRISP), is used by all 46 acute-care hospitals in the state and over 150 healthcare provider organizations.

iHealth Beat reports that through CRISP, “healthcare providers at hospitals, emergency departments and labs are able to electronically share millions of patient records with providers and institutions across the state.”

With the exchange, Business Insider reports  health officials in Maryland are now able to do things like map disease "hotspots" that allow for more rapid, targeted, and cost-effective responses to health issues.

"CRISP," said Barry Ronan, the president and CEO of the Western Maryland Hospital System, "is what a health information exchange should be in 2014."

Tammy Keating is a nurse practitioner who works with diabetes patients at Western Maryland Regional Medical Center’s Center for Clinical Resources and feels the key to success is working with patients to address their specific needs. For example, talking with patients to identify their problems or assigning a dietitian to go to the store with them and show them what to look for on labels. Because of targeted programs like these, despite the rise of diabetes, there has been a 16 percent decrease in cases coming to the emergency room.

"What we're seeing at a place like this," Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Maryland’s state health secretary said, "is true clinical transformation, which is the ultimate goal. Our thinking is that if all the payers are cooperating that way, then you're more likely to see that transformation happen. And when that transformation happens, then you really are saving money by keeping people healthier."