Delaware Health Information Network (DHIN)

In 1999 - 2000, while completing the International Executive MBA Program at Georgetown University, Dr. Mike Katz developed and wrote a business plan to establish a Delaware statewide integrated health information network leveraging evolving web technology. At the time, the term DHIN (Delaware Health Information Network) referred to a state entity created by Governor Tom Carper in the 1990’s. The DHIN originally was a paper repository and did not have a clinical technology capability.

Dr. Katz’s 2000 business plan was the birth of Delaware’s technology platform know as the DHIN. With his business plan in hand, he developed a contract relationship with Medicity to provide the backend technology and support for Delaware’s statewide health information platform.

Dr. Katz based the DHIN initiative with the Medical Society of Delaware, working with MSD’s leadership to engage Delaware’s medical community. With MSD, the DHIN initiative recruited technology executives at Christiana Care. The DHIN team, lead by Dr. Katz, began the process of educating Delaware’s hospital executives on the concept of making Delaware the first state to adopt and implement a statewide Health Information Network.

Hospital executives were very enthusiastic about the idea of health providers and patients being able to access personal health information, testing, and hospital visits within their own community. But, at that time, executives were not willing to share patient information with other hospitals due to competitive concerns.

Dr. Katz, along with MSD leadership, decided that it would be helpful to bring the technology initiative to Delaware’s Health Care Commission with the goal of bringing hospitals and state agencies to the table to workout a plan to implement a statewide integrated health information network. MSD and Dr. Katz had concerns about bringing the technology initiative to the state agency due to potential corruption and mismanagement. The technology initiative was subsequently handed over to the state agency and, unfortunately, concerns about mismanagement and corruption came true.

When Dr. Katz entered Delaware’s State Senate, he immediately turned his attention to restructuring the DHIN into a public-private partnership that required the entity to be financial self-sufficient with regular oversight and transparency.

The introduction of SB80 by SB231: Dr. Katz began the very contentious two-year battle to eradicate corruption from the DHIN and to ensure that it began to meet the best interests of all patients and Delawareans.

SB80 followed by SB This Bill creates the Delaware Health Consortium, charged with implementing and operating a State wide health information network. The network will enable ready communication throughout the State of clinical and financial health information. It establishes a twelve member oversight board, governed under the Freedom of Information Act, to adopt bylaws and to govern the affairs of the DHC. The Bill also provides for criminal and civil immunity from suit for Board members and employees conducting the affairs of the DHC. It also requires an annual report and annual audits of the DHC’s operations and financial positions.

This legislation provides a more permanent governance structure for the Delaware Health Information Network (DHIN), by removing the DHIN from the organizational structure of the Delaware Healthcare Commission and by moving toward a more traditional public/private corporation model of governance. The bill also imposes greater accountability and transparency with annual detailed reports to the Governor and the General Assembly, including annual certified audits and a detailed business/sustainability plan. The bill provides for a balanced board, with representation from the healthcare industry and government, including the State’s Director of Management and Budget and the Controller General. This legislation maintains the current law with respect to the protection of the privacy of patient specific information and limitations on liability. This legislation is the product of significant input and effort from the Joint Sunset Committee and its staff.


The Creation of a Delaware Statewide Health Information Network