Health Information Exchange in California: Overview of Network Types and Characteristics

Intrepid Ascent


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Advancing Data Exchange in California

This collection of reports sponsored by CHCF is aimed at helping inform California decisionmakers about statewide data exchange.

How do health care providers access patient information from outside their practice, clinic, or hospital to deliver informed care? How do organizations and the communities they serve aggregate and analyze patient information to guide population health improvement? How do care teams that span organizations and sectors (such as health care and housing) use data to collaborate and communicate to provide integrated services that address whole-person needs?

This document answers these questions through a high-level overview of the types of infrastructure used to exchange health-related information in California today. The methods identified put information at the fingertips of clinicians, their organizations, and partnering service providers for the care of individuals and populations.

While based on similar technology standards, each type of data exchange infrastructure described is built and organized to address distinct priorities, has specific strengths and weaknesses, and operates differently in scale and geographic distribution. Many of these networks overlap, and organizations often participate in more than one. While the networks represent a significant advance in capabilities across the state, without further progress and alignment they leave significant gaps that contribute to fragmented services for most Californians.

The brief details characteristics and key metrics for each of the following types of health information exchange network:

  • EHR-centered clinical data exchange
  • Community-based clinical data exchange networks
  • Specialized clinical data exchange networks
  • Whole-person data exchange networks

About the Author

Mark Elson, PhD, the principal of Intrepid Ascent, and members of his team developed this snapshot. Intrepid Ascent supports communities in the exchange and use of data to improve health.