In November 2019, I was on stage addressing the audience during Health Current’s annual Summit and Trade Show when I felt my phone buzz. I looked at my screen when I had a chance and saw the above text from Morgan Honea, the CEO of CORHIO, the largest health information exchange (HIE) in Colorado. I knew Morgan and had been very impressed by his leadership and his organization’s accomplishments.
At the time, there was much talk in HIE and health IT circles about interoperability and how collaboration and consolidation will help all stakeholders in healthcare better harness the power of data.
I knew that CORHIO and Health Current shared synergies and complementary strengths between neighboring states. It occurred to both of us that we should discuss a strategic partnership.
Fast forward 10 months to September 2020 and we announced our intention to form a new regional organization. In August 2021, we unveiled our new brand, Contexture. We legally merged on Jan. 1, 2022.
Because of the merger, our customers and our team of nearly 200 employees benefit from different skill sets, years of industry knowledge and processes, and better economies of scale.
Consolidation Trend Among HIEs
Over the past few years, more than 10 HIEs have consolidated through multiple pathways, including mergers, joint ventures and shared-services agreements. Much of this consolidation is occurring in states with multiple HIE players. Of course, this is consistent with the broader consolidation within the healthcare industry, as local hospitals become part of local health systems and those systems join regional and national systems.
Examples of this consolidation activity can be found in Indiana (Indiana Health Information Exchange) and Michiana (Michigan Health Information Network), Nebraska and Iowa (CyncHealth and CyncHealth Iowa) and in Maryland, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Connecticut and Alaska (CRISP Shared Services).
How the Healthcare Sector Benefits
As one of the country’s largest HIEs, Contexture oversees the health information needs for healthcare organizations across Colorado and Arizona, while improving care coordination and clinical outcomes and supporting each state’s health IT initiatives.
This merger of two successful HIEs benefits Colorado and Arizona in myriad ways. For example, CORHIO had concrete experience supporting its communities in patient identity matching and electronic clinical quality measures, while Health Current developed a structure to integrate physical and behavioral health information. At a regional level, Contexture’s larger data set supports more opportunities to improve population health and address social determinants of health.
The consolidation also puts the organization in a better position to compete at a national level and to meet federal policy changes.
Looking forward, Contexture will continue its mission of serving local communities by developing products and services that align with those objectives. Both Health Current and CORHIO had longstanding, strong relationships with their state agency partners and a good part of their ongoing sustainability will continue to build on those partnerships.
I’m glad that Morgan sent me that simple text and that we’ve joined forces in a collaboration that will make a difference in the lives of Arizonans and Coloradans by improving the quality and accessibility of health data.