Defining Health IT: PCDH

Defining Health IT: PCDH

Healthcare is complicated (stop us if you’ve heard this before). We are all familiar with the detailed organization chart developed by the Joint Economic Committee, which illustrates a bewildering array of government agencies, regulations and mandates.

From appropriate treatment plans, to documenting the details of the care experience, the highly fragmented industry is filled with complexity and has long suffered from a lack of coordination, high variability, and failure to tie costs to quality.

Further compounding the issue, healthcare is filled with its own unique jargon. ACA, VBC, PQRS, HCC, HIE, DRG, RVU – the array of acronyms is dizzying. It can be difficult to keep up with the acronyms, not to mention the buzzword bingo that seemingly changes from year to year. 

With this background, we introduce our “Defining Health IT” blog series. In order to provide additional value to our subscribers and the healthcare communities we serve, we will distill a complex acronym, topic, or concept into a clear and simple explanation, with a list of curated resources to dive deeper. 

What is PCDH?

“The Patient Centered Data Home (PCDH) is a cost-effective, scalable method of exchanging patient data among health information exchanges (HIEs). It’s based on triggering episode alerts, which notify providers a care event has occurred outside of the patient’s “home” HIE, and confirms the availability and the specific location of the clinical data, enabling providers to initiate additional data exchanges to access real-time information across state and regional lines and the care continuum.

PCDH is an initiative of the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC) that puts into practice the vision that clinical data should be available whenever and wherever care occurs and centered around the patient to improve patient care. In this model, all clinical data becomes part of the comprehensive longitudinal patient record in the HIE where the patient resides, called the Patient Centered Data Home.”

Why is PCDH Needed?

PCDH is organized around patients and where they live. It gives patients control of data wherever and whenever they receive care. It also serves as a data trustee to pull together data regardless of who or where the patient is. Other attempts fail because they are organized around individual organizations, convenient geographies (e.g. states), single EHR vendors and single payers.

How Does PCDH Work?

PCDH features include:

  • Provides a vehicle to close the loop on care when a patient is seen outside their normal care area
  • Enables nationwide access to patient information that follows the patient and facilitates better treatment
  • Links existing communities of trust established by health information exchanges
  • Preserves local governance
  • Protects local stakeholders


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