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OcuHub: A Private Eyecare HIE

OcuHub is a “national private health information exchange for eyecare that includes elements of data exchange, data analysis and care coordination,”according to its CEO, Barry Barresi, OD, PhD, “Created as part of AOAExcel when Barresi was still executive director of the American Optometric Association, OcuHub is now owned by TearLab, which purchased the entity in 2014. OcuHub was designed to help grow ECPs’ referral volume. “We are a health IT company that helps you grow your practice through referral management, with MDs trying to get more volume from ODs, vice versa, and also from primary care providers,” said Barresi.

OcuHub provides essential ingredients for care collaboration and referral management through secure messaging and its ability to transmit patients’ continuity of care documents (CCDA) that are a requirement of Meaningful Use (see “Comparing and Understanding the Stages of Meaningful Use”). In addition to transmitting patient health information, it also allows practitioners to share business documents that “help you create the glue and integrity among collaborating doctors,” said Barresi.

Finally, OcuHub allows for making appointments directly between doctors. For example, a primary care provider who is not even an OcuHub subscriber can access its scheduler to set up an appointment with an eye doctor for a patient with diabetes, for example, explained Barresi, thereby simplifying the referral process.

He also explained that using OcuHub to share data among a large group of ECPs, such as 30 ophthalmologists and hundreds of optometrists being all part of the same information system, will then enable that group to approach medical groups and other payers as an aggregate entity while still staying independent. “The path to independence is integration,” he said.