An 'integrated health neighbourhood' framework to optimise the use of EHR data
Liaw ST., De Lusignan S.
© 2016 The Author(s). General practice should become the hub of integrated health neighbourhoods (IHNs), which involves sharing of information to ensure that medical homes are also part of learning organisations that use electronic health record (EHR) data for care, decision making, teaching and learning, quality improvement and research. The IHN is defined as the primary and ambulatory care services in a locality that relates largely to a single hospital-based secondary care service provider and is the logical denominator and unit of comparison for the optimal use of EHR data and health information exchange (HIE) to facilitate integration and coordination of care. Its size may vary based on the geography and requirements of the population, for example between city, suburban and rural areas. The conceptual framework includes context; integration of data, information and knowledge; integration of clinical workflow and practice; and inter-professional integration to ensure coordinated shared care to deliver safe and effective services that are equitable, accessible and culturally respectful. We illustrate how this HIE-supported IHN vision may be achieved with an Australian case study demonstrating the integration of linked pseudonymised records with knowledge- and evidence-based guidelines using semantic web tools and informatics-based methods, researching causal links bewteen data quality and quality of care and the key issues to address. The data presented in this paper form part of the evaluation of the informatics infrastructure - HIE and data repository - for its reliability and utility in supporting the IHN. An IHN can only be created if the necessary health informatics infrastructure is put in place. Integrated care may struggle to be effective without HIE.