Last week I had the honor to be on the judging panel for the HSX Consumer Health Data Exchange Hackathon.HSX, or HealthShare Exchange is the Southeast Pennsylvania Health Information Exchange — the data sharing platform for health systems, medical practices and payers in the greater Philadelphia Area. This Hackathon was a challenge to programming teams to build applications using APIs that access the HSX data repository. For this first-ever HSX Hackathon, there were eight teams, with a wide variety of backgrounds, all building apps using APIs that access and integrate the distinct data sets within the participating networks. An impressive creativity and variety characterized the solutions and concepts these hacking teams explored in their proposed integrations, including:
- Patient engagement and care-management hacks
- Personal health records focused around specific conditions, for example hypertension or Parkinson’s Disease
- A behavioral health application aiming to fill the gap between appointments
- A hack bringing together data on familial and genetic conditions
- An app using blockchain to manage immunization records.
What did these hacks show?
- In most of these hacks, both the patient/consumer and their providers or care givers benefited from the application. While HIE’s (Health Information Exchanges) have traditionally been envisioned as gaining provider-to-provider data-exchange insights, these hacks demonstrate how patients and consumers can also become direct beneficiaries and users of the HIE infrastructure.
- While managing diseases and chronic conditions are key hack topics, many hacks also try to solve or improve healthcare administrative inefficiencies-the requests and submissions of Medical History forms, gathering immunization data, improving Care Management teamwork. This is promising for patients and providers: the HIE is not just to improve the quality of care, it can also make healthcare more efficient and reduce administrative hassles.
- Most importantly, these projects demonstrate that a Health Information Exchange is not just about sending data from A to B. HSX is a platform of health data, aggregated across health systems, supporting a set of open APIs, which enables applications with cross-organization data needs aimed at cross-organization health providers, care givers, and patients.