The State of Maryland has signed into law requirements that make the concept of a health data utility a reality for CRISP, the state’s designated health information exchange.
Effective Oct. 1, 2022, state law will require the state-designated HIE to provide data in real-time to individuals and organizations involved in the treatment and care coordination of patients and to public health officials to support public health goals. The new legislation will also require the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), nursing homes, electronic health networks and prescription drug dispensers to provide data to the state-designated HIE.
“This designation to operate as a health data utility will amplify the invaluable outcomes sharing health data can have on state public health goals and improving clinical care coordination all while reducing the total cost of care for the state and securing data at the personal level,” said Craig Behm, who was recently named president and CEO of CRISP, in a statement. “We’re grateful for the state’s support and investments in improving statewide public health.”
Behm has served in various roles at CRISP since 2015. In February 2022, David Horrocks, who had been president and CEO of CRISP since its creation in 2009, left to become CEO of the New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC), which oversees the Statewide Health Information Network for New York (SHIN-NY).
In a recent interview with Healthcare Innovation, Brandon Neiswender, CRISP’s chief strategy officer, said bringing together EHR data, imaging, claims, etc., in Maryland allowed for the observation of statewide metrics around cost of care for certain cohorts of patients with different disease sets. “It is almost like a research community: how do you know if these programs are moving the bar? What are the variables in this statistical model?” he said. “CRISP was able to bring together a lot of those variables. CRISP can help organizations look at total cost of care around a cohort of patients before a program and after a program. What are the successes? What are the types of services they need? Did we reduce costs by X percent, and were the outcomes better? Once you are producing quality reporting on those types of metrics, it’s almost an obvious next step for the state Department of Health or the hospital association or other interested stakeholders to ask if there is an opportunity to do public health reporting or hot-spotting.”
State designation is key for allowing HIEs the ability to clarify, defragment and secure individual health data before sharing it with the state health department, CRISP said. State designation allows enhanced partnership with state public health departments to use data to guide, evaluate and ultimately enhance outcomes of public health interventions and increase outcomes of state-specific health equity goals.
“Maryland has a unique state approach to quality of care and encouraging and providing investments for the cooperation and collaboration of health systems to work in tandem with the state,” added Behm. “For treating clinicians and public health authorities, time is of the essence for early intervention to prevent advanced disease and this new designation will greatly increase health outcomes for our communities.”
CRISP added that its operation as a health data utility will drastically improve some of the state’s leading public health priorities such as early intervention services for vulnerable populations, public health investigations, prescription drug monitoring and covid-19 results and vaccination programs.
“We have a robust infrastructure along with years of specialization in collecting secure and sensitive health care information and delivering it in real-time to providers. We’re excited to leverage our HIE to enhance the interoperability of health information throughout the state,” added Behm.
In addition to serving Maryland, the nonprofit organization has launched CRISP Shared Services (CSS), a non-profit support organization assisting member organizations in achieving economies of scale, pooling innovation efforts and implementing best practices. Additional member affiliates of CSS currently include CRISP DC, Health Connect Alaska and West Virginia Health Information Network. CSS also supports Connie, Connecticut’s official HIE.