Blog from December, 2021

Hannah Nelson


An updated health IT roadmap outlines several initiatives that aim to boost interoperability across the state for improved care coordination.


 Colorado’s Office of eHealth Innovation (OeHI) has released an updated health IT roadmap which outlines the state’s data sharing approach that aims to enhance interoperability and improve care coordination.

The roadmap, which was a collaborative effort between over 50 individuals and organizations across the state, outlined the state’s overarching interoperability goals: supporting better data sharing infrastructure, increasing access to in-person and virtual care through coordinated systems, and improving health equity.

While most hospitals in the state are connected to health information exchanges (HIEs), many healthcare organizations, in particular rural safety net and behavioral health providers, are not able to share information broadly through HIEs due to affordability and outdated EHR systems.  

Colorado’s Rural Connectivity Program, led by OeHI and the eHealth Commission, is focused on helping rural safety net and behavioral health providers to connect to HIEs.

“Opening equitable, secure, and affordable IT pathways for patients, their providers, payers, community partners, and state agencies to connect with and share health and social services, information, and data would create an IT ecosystem that provides a more holistic look at health,” OeHI officials noted in the roadmap.

“Addressing this need puts Colorado stakeholders in prime position for advancing Colorado’s goals of affordability, access, and equity,” they continued.

Greater patient data sharing across providers is expected to reduce duplicative services and lower costs, the roadmap authors pointed out. Supporting better data sharing infrastructure across clinical and social care organizations is also expected to improve care access by focusing on whole-person health, the roadmap noted.

OeHI said that many health systems, communities, and state agencies are actively working on sharing information to improve whole-person care.

For instance, the Colorado Department of Human Services and the Colorado Department of Healthcare Policy & Financing’s joint agency interoperability efforts will enable cross-agency information sharing through data standardization, officials said.

Additionally, the Office of Behavioral Health will implement a plan to strengthen the behavioral health safety net system through coordinated health IT infrastructure, OeHI officials wrote.

“This step is critical for the Behavioral Health Administration, which will align, coordinate, and integrate state mental health and substance use programs and funding to streamline access and lower barriers to services for patients,” they said.

Next, OeHI said it will strive to provide all Coloradans with access to high-quality in-person, virtual, and remote health services that are coordinated through health IT systems.

The COVID-19 virtual health boom solidified telehealth as a convenient and reliable solution for delivering whole-person care, officials noted.

Providing whole-person care requires information from virtual and remote visits to be available, accessible, and shared across the care continuum. However, EHR systems do not always incorporate virtual and remote tools readily. Additionally, some virtual providers, especially those delivering care to Coloradans out of state, are not sharing data through health information exchanges.

The roadmap outlines Colorado’s plan for a Social-Health Information Exchange (S-HIE) infrastructure. The person-centered network is set to include a robust statewide resource directory, interoperable platforms for referral and care coordination, and functionality to track health outcomes.

“OeHI and the eHealth Commission are committed to the development of a flexible and interoperable S-HIE infrastructure that supports coordinated whole-person care across the physical, social, and behavioral health domains,” the roadmap authors wrote.

“Whole-person care coordination across in-person, virtual, and remote services for personal health and social needs is only possible with a connected and interoperable ecosystem and infrastructure,” the authors noted.

Lastly, the roadmap outlined the goal of improving health equity through the inclusive and innovative use of health IT and digital health tools.

“Several studies have found that non or limited English speakers have lower rates of telemedicine use, strengthening the need to consider how systems can better integrate live interpretation and digital translation services into their infrastructure to promote greater communication and digital equity,” the authors wrote.






Hannah Nelson


An updated health IT roadmap outlines several initiatives that aim to boost interoperability across the state for improved care coordination.


Colorado’s Office of eHealth Innovation (OeHI) has released an updated health IT roadmap which outlines the state’s data sharing approach that aims to enhance interoperability and improve care coordination.

The roadmap, which was a collaborative effort between over 50 individuals and organizations across the state, outlined the state’s overarching interoperability goals: supporting better data sharing infrastructure, increasing access to in-person and virtual care through coordinated systems, and improving health equity.

While most hospitals in the state are connected to health information exchanges (HIEs), many healthcare organizations, in particular rural safety net and behavioral health providers, are not able to share information broadly through HIEs due to affordability and outdated EHR systems.  

Colorado’s Rural Connectivity Program, led by OeHI and the eHealth Commission, is focused on helping rural safety net and behavioral health providers to connect to HIEs.

“Opening equitable, secure, and affordable IT pathways for patients, their providers, payers, community partners, and state agencies to connect with and share health and social services, information, and data would create an IT ecosystem that provides a more holistic look at health,” OeHI officials noted in the roadmap.

“Addressing this need puts Colorado stakeholders in prime position for advancing Colorado’s goals of affordability, access, and equity,” they continued.

Greater patient data sharing across providers is expected to reduce duplicative services and lower costs, the roadmap authors pointed out. Supporting better data sharing infrastructure across clinical and social care organizations is also expected to improve care access by focusing on whole-person health, the roadmap noted.

OeHI said that many health systems, communities, and state agencies are actively working on sharing information to improve whole-person care.

For instance, the Colorado Department of Human Services and the Colorado Department of Healthcare Policy & Financing’s joint agency interoperability efforts will enable cross-agency information sharing through data standardization, officials said.

Additionally, the Office of Behavioral Health will implement a plan to strengthen the behavioral health safety net system through coordinated health IT infrastructure, OeHI officials wrote.

“This step is critical for the Behavioral Health Administration, which will align, coordinate, and integrate state mental health and substance use programs and funding to streamline access and lower barriers to services for patients,” they said.

Next, OeHI said it will strive to provide all Coloradans with access to high-quality in-person, virtual, and remote health services that are coordinated through health IT systems.

The COVID-19 virtual health boom solidified telehealth as a convenient and reliable solution for delivering whole-person care, officials noted.

Providing whole-person care requires information from virtual and remote visits to be available, accessible, and shared across the care continuum. However, EHR systems do not always incorporate virtual and remote tools readily. Additionally, some virtual providers, especially those delivering care to Coloradans out of state, are not sharing data through health information exchanges.

The roadmap outlines Colorado’s plan for a Social-Health Information Exchange (S-HIE) infrastructure. The person-centered network is set to include a robust statewide resource directory, interoperable platforms for referral and care coordination, and functionality to track health outcomes.

“OeHI and the eHealth Commission are committed to the development of a flexible and interoperable S-HIE infrastructure that supports coordinated whole-person care across the physical, social, and behavioral health domains,” the roadmap authors wrote.

“Whole-person care coordination across in-person, virtual, and remote services for personal health and social needs is only possible with a connected and interoperable ecosystem and infrastructure,” the authors noted.

Lastly, the roadmap outlined the goal of improving health equity through the inclusive and innovative use of health IT and digital health tools.

“Several studies have found that non or limited English speakers have lower rates of telemedicine use, strengthening the need to consider how systems can better integrate live interpretation and digital translation services into their infrastructure to promote greater communication and digital equity,” the authors wrote.






Erin McNemar


With data analytics, researchers found that some populations are underrepresented in cancer clinical trials, which contributes to health disparities.


According to a data analytics study examining health disparities in cancer clinical trials, certain populations remain underrepresented despite attempts to increase participation.

By including individuals with diverse backgrounds in clinical trials, researchers can determine if treatments are safe and effective for people with different characteristics, improving population health. To improve diversity in clinical trials, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has created several initiatives.

Juan F. Javier-DesLoges, MD, MS, of UC San Diego Health, and his colleagues analyzed the NCI Clinical Data Update System, a database that contains records on participants in NCI-sponsored clinical trials, to examine the representation of minorities, women, and older patients in 766 breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate cancer trials from 2000–2019.

The trials in the data analysis included 242,720 participants: 197,320 Non-Hispanic White (81.3 percent), 21,190 Black (8.7 percent), 11,587 Hispanic (4.8 percent), and 6,880 Asian/Pacific Islander (2.8 percent) patients.

The research team analyzed clinical trial participation from 2015- 2019 compared to the proportion of cancer incidence rates from 2015- 2017 for non-Hispanic Whites versus minorities, elderly versus nonelderly patients, and female versus male patients.

According to the results, Black and Hispanic patients were more likely to participate in breast cancer clinical trials but were significantly underrepresented in colorectal, lung, and prostate cancer trials. Additionally, patients over 65 were underrepresented in breast, colorectal, and lung cancer trials while women were underrepresented in colorectal and lung cancer trials.

When the team examined 2000–2004 and 2015–2019, they discovered that Hispanic and Black patients were more likely to be included in breast, lung, and prostate cancer trials in recent years than in the early 2000s.

For women, they were less likely to be included in colorectal cancer trials in recent years. However, women were more likely to participate in lung cancer trials. Trends in inclusion for patients older than 65 years varied depending on the cancer type.

“Our article indicates that the disparity for clinical enrollment in NCI clinical trials has narrowed for minorities, but further efforts are still needed,” Javier-DesLoges said in a press release.

According to researchers, additional work needs to be conducted to address the ongoing underrepresentation of women and older patients in clinical trials.

To eliminate health disparities, researchers must identify the root cause of the problem and development methods to promote health equality. By improving the representation in clinical trials, researchers can enhance population health and provide better patient outcomes.

While representation in clinical trials has increased, many populations remain underrepresented.