California needs a statewide health data network to protect public health, respond to emergencies, and improve care delivery — all while maintaining patient privacy. This will allow those making critical health care decisions to have the information they need to see the whole picture for their patients, make smart and timely decisions, and save lives.
Statewide health data networks have been adopted in many other states. Case studies in Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, and New York show that shared digital infrastructure can take different forms and be managed differently. They all have in common that the state government plays a leadership role and has the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that this infrastructure exists, includes everyone, and addresses the state’s most important health needs.
Filling that leadership void is the first and most important step California should take. All successful state data exchanges have strong leadership to oversee their data health networks. Strong leadership should have a governance structure with the authority to manage participation, data privacy, and financing.
The new data system should meet three main conditions:
- Health care data should link to public health data so the state has the information it needs to address public health emergencies.
- All physical health data should link to behavioral health and social services data. That way, Medi-Cal and other important programs can provide care and support to the whole person.
- A statewide health data network needs to include all Californians. Right now, too many Californians are left behind because their care teams do not have the right information at the right time.
|How Health Information Exchange (HIE) Works (and doesn’t work) Today
While other states have built coordinated health information networks with single user interfaces and sustained funding, California has a decentralized system.
The Result: A Fragmented, Siloed, Inefficient System