Expanding Health Information Exchange to Advance Health Equity in California

May 5, 2021

Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) enable health care providers to access patient information from unaffiliated health systems to deliver informed care. The COVID-19 pandemic further emphasized the value of HIEs by enabling public health agencies to precisely target interventions among vulnerable populations.

Health care data exchange in California is fragmented and primarily advantageous to health systems operating on the same Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems or participating in a regional community-based health information organization (HIO). Gaps in data exchange continues to disproportionately affect safety net systems and small physician practices serving the most vulnerable communities in California. Implementing a statewide HIE would ensure connectivity regardless of where people live and receive health care in the state.

This new Cal-IHEA policy report leverages research and evidence briefings to inform California’s next steps for achieving statewide data exchange. By understanding past failures and learning from the success of other states, California can leverage policy and funding opportunities to advance health equity in the state.