NEWS | September 25, 2012

UC Davis' Institute for Population Improvement launches California Health eQuality


UC Davis Health System has established the California Health eQuality (CHeQ) program, leaders at the Institute for Population Health Improvement announced today. CHeQ seeks to improve health-care quality and the coordination of care by using health information exchange (HIE) technology to facilitate the rapid flow of information among physician offices, hospitals and other health-care providers.
Through a 16-month, $17.5 million interagency agreement with the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS), CHeQ will develop and implement HIE programs according to the state's Cooperative Grant Agreement with the federal Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. From March 2010 to August 2012, CHHS had utilized Cal eConnect, a nonprofit corporation, as California's state-designated governance entity.

CHeQ will promote health-care quality and coordination of care by expanding underserved communities' capacities to exchange health information. CHeQ will promote health-care quality and coordination of care by expanding underserved communities' capacities to exchange health information.

CHeQ's programs intend to promote health-care quality and the coordination of care by expanding underserved communities' capacities to exchange health information or access to Direct, a simple, standards-based way for senders to push secure encrypted health information directly to trusted recipients over the Internet. CHeQ also will improve sharing of immunization, laboratory, and care information and provide tools to assist providers in identifying private, secure, standardized and trusted systems.

Kenneth W. Kizer, director of the Institute for Population Health Improvement, will lead CHeQ. Kizer has a long history of public -and private-sector experience in health-information technology, health-care quality improvement and population health. He has served as chair, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Medsphere Systems Corporation, the nation's leading commercial provider of open-source health-care information technology. 

Kizer also was founding president and CEO of the National Quality Forum, a Washington, DC-based quality improvement and consensus standards-setting organization. Before that, he served as the under secretary for health for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), where he led the VA's transition to electronic health records and health information exchange in the late 1990s. He also was the director of the California Department of Health Services (now the California Department of Public Health) from 1985 to 1991, where he initiated a number of leading-edge health-information management and modernization efforts.

"We want care-related information to flow safely and quickly between and among health-care providers. No more printing, scanning and faxing laboratory and X-ray results," Kizer said. "Through CHeQ, we are committed to advancing use of secure electronic exchanges of information so that care for the patient is better, and the job of providing high-quality care is easier for the caregiver."

"CHeQ's work will help California accelerate progress toward making critical patient information available when and where it is needed for care," said Pamela Lane, CHHS deputy secretary for health information exchange, who is responsible for the state's Cooperative Grant Agreement. "Under the guidance of the Institute for Population Health Improvement, the new organization will also enable us to achieve an important long-term goal for health information exchange -- using data to improve population health outcomes in California."

CHeQ will be a highly collaborative effort among CHHS, other state agencies and the full range of California health-care stakeholders -- patients, health care professionals, payers, providers and health plans. A CHeQ advisory committee and task-specific subcommittees will be appointed; additional information on these activities will be forthcoming in the near future. 

Additionally, on Nov. 1-2, 2012, CHHS and CHeQ will convene the state's pre-eminent HIE meeting in Sacramento: "Transforming Healthcare:  2012 California HIE Stakeholder Summit."

UC Davis Health System is improving lives and transforming health care by providing excellent patient care, conducting groundbreaking research, fostering innovative, interprofessional education, and creating dynamic, productive partnerships with the community. The academic health system includes one of the country's best medical schools, a 631-bed acute-care teaching hospital, a 1000-member physician's practice group and the new Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. It is home to a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, an international neurodevelopmental institute, a stem cell institute and a comprehensive children's hospital. Other nationally prominent centers focus on advancing telemedicine, improving vascular care, eliminating health disparities and translating research findings into new treatments for patients. Together, they make UC Davis a hub of innovation that is transforming health for all.  For more information, visit