Posted on: January 16, 2019

It’s amazing how important dates can sneak up on us. As my team here at Hixny contemplated what we’re working on for the year ahead, we were reminded that 2019 actually marks 20 years since the founding of our organization.

Back in 1999, local health insurers and hospitals got together trying to solve a problem: they needed machines to talk to one another to support compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) that had gone into effect three years earlier. They hired just one part-time consultant to get the job done—and their efforts led to Hixny’s creation.

Today, one of the leaders of that initial work, Paul Macielak, is entering his fourth year as the chair of Hixny’s board of directors. He’s seen Hixny overcome challenges throughout its history to date and he’s watched our successes replicated across the state—through the Statewide Health Information Network for New York (SHIN-NY)—and around the country.

If you think back, all the buzz in 1999 surrounded preparations for Y2K. AltaVista was the internet’s most popular search engine. Smartphonestablets and wearables were completely unknown. The idea of “consumer-directed healthcare” stopped with encouragement to take a list of questions into your doctor visits. And the core capabilities of the Apple Watch only existed in Dick Tracy and the Bond films.

The world has changed a lot since then and the problems we’re trying to solve are different. We expect machines to engage in complex dialogues that not only convey healthcare and treatment data, but also leverage social determinants such as community rates of unemployment, access to transportation and patterns of addiction to identify opportunities for large-scale intervention. At the same time, consumers are more engaged in their healthcare than ever before—as evidenced by the success and progress of Apple Health, among other advances.

So, while our goal used to be getting providers to talk to one another, we now need to make sure that consumers are part of the conversation, too. In some cases, they are the link between effective care and outside factors that providers can’t evaluate on their own.

As we move through this year, guided by some of the same visionary minds who’ve led us through the last two decades, we’ll expand beyond connecting Hixny with common and specialized electronic health records systems to accommodate consumer technology connections. At the same time, we’ll begin integrating clinical and claims data to speed the transition from volume- to value-based care.

I’ll also be sharing thoughts about what we see happening in the healthcare and health information technology industries. Join me as we celebrate our 20th anniversary and think through some of the advances ahead—as well as what they mean for Hixny and for you.