When North Carolina decided it was time to shift from an outdated process for collecting hospital data required by the state, the migration to a new, more robust system would have to be quick and seamless. Having hospitals struggle to comply or miss deadlines wasn’t an option.
The North Carolina Healthcare Association took the lead in finding a solution, as it generally does when state mandates impact their members. With support from a board-appointed data policy committee, NCHA’s data and information systems team issued a request for proposals and selected HIDI — the nation’s leader in hospital discharge data collection and validation. HIDI now serves NCHA’s 130 members and roughly 145 other health care facilities covered by the state mandate.
“We had a very short timeframe to migrate our data from our previous vendor, and HIDI committed all the resources to help us complete the migration in what was really record time,” said Jonathan Kea, NCHA’s senior director for data and information systems. “We’ve had very good feedback from our members. We’ve had very few issues with the migration.”
HIDI is quick to give much of the credit for that success to Kea and his team. “HIDI’s team stepped up and committed time and resources to onboard all the North Carolina facilities in record time, but without the cooperation of NCHA, it would not have happened in the projected timeframe. We were committed to our tasks to make the project successful and so were they — it truly was a partnership,” said Jamey Motter, HIDI’s vice president of client services and delivery.
One benefit of working with HIDI, Kea said, is that many other data vendors are familiar with the company because it is used in so many states. “When you approach an EMR or web vendor, they’re likely to be familiar with the HIDI data formats, which makes it easier for hospitals to install that interface,” he said.
Kea quickly learned that the HIDI partnership offered benefits beyond meeting the state mandate. As the data resource for hospital associations in 15 states, HIDI could offer opportunities to collaborate with neighboring states.
“Right out of the gate, as soon as our migration was over, we engaged the state of Virginia through their partnership with HIDI to establish data sharing,” he said. “We also were able to take advantage of nonresident data sharing so that we can see where our residents are going to get care when they go outside of the state.”
Discussions already are under way about using other HIDI products and services, including a readmissions program and expansion into ambulatory locations.
Kea doesn’t hesitate to recommend HIDI to other state hospital associations and gives the group high marks for customer service. “They’re extremely responsive and courteous,” he said. “They’ve often been willing to go the extra mile to get something done without extra fees. They’ve been really flexible in adapting to our needs.”
The admiration is mutual. “NCHA is a great client because they don’t see HIDI as just a vendor who can provide specific services,” Motter said. “We collaborate on everything, which has made their data program very successful. There is a certain level of service they expect from us, but when you have good communication and collaboration, it’s easier to deliver customized solutions at high quality and meet client expectations.”