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Do the Math: How an HIE cut half a day off hospital stays and united competition in New Jersey

by Inspira Health Network

Most health information exchanges (HIEs) measure success by number of connections, patients, and transactions. Ed Rodriguez attributes a different success to his HIE.

He says the New Jersey South Health Information Network (NJSHINE) reduced the average length of stay at his Inspira Health Network hospitals by half a day.

Rodriguez, the Director of Ambulatory Informatics for Inspira, says the HIE improved the coordination of care by optimizing its discharge and skilled nursing referral process.

Before, said Rodriguez, “it would take almost a day for nurses to call around to the skilled nursing facilities, asking if a facility had a bed for a patient with a specific condition, and waiting to see who responded.”

Now Inspira nurses create a referral using NJSHINE messaging. With Cerner’s HIE technology, NJSHINE blasts the basic patient description, diagnosis, and needs to all skilled nursing agencies in the area. The clinician can also include scans, images, and lab results into NJSHINE messages.

Now, said Rodriguez, nurses can go to a family with choices in hand. “The nurses can say ‘we can place you in this nursing home on this day – or this one’.” It has “streamlined the process,” said Rodriguez, “and reduced our length of stays in the hospital by half a day.”

The Kaiser Family Foundation notes the average cost of a hospital stay in New Jersey is more than $2,400. Do the math: NJSHINE saves patients more than $1,200.

NJSHINE has other successes too. It spans seven counties in southern New Jersey and has almost 400,000 patients in the HIE. That calculates to roughly one out of every five people in the area have a record in NJSHINE.

The HIE connects more than 300 organizations and more than 2,500 end users across hospitals, physician practices, and nursing facilities.

Those end users are very active on NJSHINE. More than 125,000 transactions occur on the system every week. That equates to roughly 40 percent provider system utilization.

“Our physician practices have made NJSHINE part of their daily routines,” said Rodriguez. “The best part is they collaborate with us.”

NJSHINE now boasts 40 different connections to electronic health records (EHRs). In all, it connects to 9 different EHRs.

“That’s why we chose this technology – it is agnostic and can connect to any EHR,” said Rodriguez.

Inspira’s competitors contribute to many of these numbers. “We share patients across many counties,” explained Rodriguez matter-of-factly. “This is not just an Inspira product. Launching this HIE was not about competition, but about collaboration and cooperation.”

In six years, NJSHINE grew 80 percent. Do the math: Rodriguez expects that collaboration, cooperation and growth to continue.

Client outcomes were achieved in respective settings and are not representative of benefits realized by all clients due to many variables, including solution scope, client capabilities and business and implementation models.