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Seth Augenstein


The health histories of some 20 million people in Kansas and Missouri, compiled in “comprehensive health records,” will be shared across state lines, according to a recent data sharing agreement.

The deal between the Missouri Health Connection (MHC), and the Kansas Health Information Network (KHIN) and subsidiary KAMMCO Health Solutions (KMS), will aggregate data from both exchanges — creating a new comprehensive medical record.

The new insights will lead to quicker treatments, reduce redundant testing and procedures, and improve coordination and decision-making, according to the agencies. 

Some experts told Inside Digital Health™ that the partnership is a net win for patients and caregivers, as well.

“The connection of the KHIN and MHC networks solves many challenges with the exchanging of electronic health data today,” said Laura McCrary, Ed.D., executive director of KHIN and president and CEO of KHS. “Patients’ medical records will be electronically available to their physicians and other healthcare providers any time of day. This is critically important as there are times a patient may not be able to communicate all of their health history to their physician or hospitalist in an emergency.”

The new records will be created using a “private and secure technology” producing a record that is longitudinal, and updated electronically and in real-time, according to officials. KAMMCO, doing business as SHINE of Missouri, is physician-led and has partnered with the Missouri State Medical Association.

Calling it an “epic win for Missouri, Kansas and the Midwest,” officials said the deal will affect a majority of patients in both states.

MHC’s network extends to more than half of the in-patient care in Missouri, through 75 hospitals, several hundred clinics and 14 community health centers.

KHIN’s reach in Kansas extends to more than 125 hospitals, nearly three-quarters of the physician practices, as well as pharmacies, home health providers, health plans and long-term-care facilities.

“Making a connection to each other was a sound way for MHC and KHIN to demonstrate our commitment to serving the healthcare providers in our respective networks,” said Angie Bass, president and CEO of MHC. “Data sharing between MHC and KHIN dramatically increase the value of health information exchange to our healthcare customers.”

McCrary told Inside Digital Health™ by phone from the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative conference in Washington, D.C. that both exchanges create interfaces from the EHRs, to the secure interchange platform. HL7 (Health Level Seven) V.2 is the most common data transport method to build the data feeds for labs, notes and other categories. The CCD and ADT data feeds are held in a central data repository, and when a doctor or healthcare provider needs information, then their records system queries the repository, either automatically or through a manual portal.

Now, when either of the queries comes in, it will query the other state, McCrary said.

Kate Shamsuddin, M.S., the senior vice president of strategy at Definitive Healthcare, a Massachusetts-based healthcare data and analytics firm, said that both KHIN and MHC use some of the most common HIE systems – making it much easier to combine forces. Both entities also have a history of partnering with other organizations to expand access to data, she said. 

It’s likely to be a net win for patients, added Shamsuddin.

“According to Definitive Healthcare data, Missouri Health Connection currently serves a large number of rural hospitals in the Midwest, so this partnership will also help streamline remote care cases by allowing rural providers to quickly discover the patient record and deliver the appropriate care,” she said. “In rural areas, removing any barriers, particularly when dealing with time-sensitive events is absolutely crucial.”

KAMMCO’s health analytics and information exchange services are also used in Connecticut, New Jersey, Georgia, South Carolina and Louisiana.