How Well Does Your State Do in Health Data Queries?

Since Particle is connected to U.S. healthcare's three largest national networks, our data scientists have an unparalleled view of how queries perform, all the way down to the state level.

Our white paper on the state of U.S. healthcare’s national network data exchanges turned up a lot of interesting facts, some of which we’ve shared in previous posts. But you may have missed one of the insights we gleaned in our data gathering – how states compare in query success rates. 

There are three large national networks that together have access to healthcare records from well over 90% of the U.S. population: CommonWell, Carequality, and eHealth Exchange. Since Particle Health is connected to all three, our data scientists have an unparalleled view of how they perform. Among other things, this means we are able to see query success rates all the way down to the state level.

A few things to keep in mind before we dive into the numbers:

-       Any query to a Health Information Network (HIN) is always accompanied by a Purpose of Use (PoU).

-       To make data available, organizations operate their own servers – called endpoints – which other participants can query.

-       Some organizations include hundreds of sites in a single endpoint; others may maintain endpoints for each individual care site.

-       We use the best available method – the Query Success Rate (QSR) – to quantify patient record availability. If any files are found for a patient during a query, then we count this as a success. Finding no files for a patient counts against the QSR.

-       While global QSRs across Particle’s partner base gives us an indication of the actual state of QSR, these numbers are not necessarily a truly accurate representation of each state’s response rates. For example, if only one of Particle’s partners queries for five patients in Alaska and we get one response, we would report a 20% response rate when in reality, Alaska’s true QSR might be closer to the rest of the U.S. As our customer base and nationwide query volume continue to grow, we will be able to determine QSR with increasing statistical significance. 


As you can see, there is significant query success variation between different states. There are several reasons for the disparities: One is that some states require patients to opt-in to data sharing, which leads to lower rankings. Another is that states with higher percentages of unhealthy people will have more people participating in the health system, therefore will have more data for us to find. Ditto for states with older populations. Other factors that might adversely affect a state’s ranking include having a high proportion of residents served by the VA, since our QSR doesn’t account for military or VA records.

In general, we have found that states that have multiple regional health exchange networks, a legislative focus on data sharing, and a commitment to indexing patient information are best at finding records connected to a person’s demographics. 

Want to continue your deep dive? Dig into our HIN resource or better yet-- get in contact with one of our experts right here.