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eHealth Exchange Uses FHIR to Modernize Health IT Infrastructure

eHealth Exchange entered into new partnerships to modernize its health IT infrastructure, cut costs, and expand services.

eHealth Exchange is launching several new efforts to improve its health IT infrastructure.

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

eHealth Exchange is upgrading its health IT infrastructure to cut costs, expand its national reach, and support new capabilities including a national record locator service.

The nationwide health information network will integrate its Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) Healthcare Directory with InterSystems health IT solutions to enable more patient-centric services.

eHealth Exchange is also working to implement the Carequality interoperability framework to enhance health data exchange standardization for users.

“With a single connection to the eHealth Exchange, our participants will be able to securely exchange patient information not only within our large national network, but also with other Carequality-enabled networks such as athenahealth, CommonWell Health Alliance, Epic, and Surescripts,” said eHealth Exchange Executive Director Jay Nakashima.

“A one-gateway solution for a network of our size will dramatically increase connectivity for the entire country while saving millions of dollars in IT infrastructure and effort for our participants and their future exchange partners,” Nakashima added.

The health information network is updating its infrastructure on the ten-year anniversary of its establishment. eHealth Exchange launched as an ONC initiative in 2008 and was taken over by the Sequoia Project in 2012. In October 2018, the network became a standalone non-profit.

eHealth Exchange currently facilitates connections between federal agencies, 75 percent of hospitals across the country, tens of thousands of clinics, and 59 regional and state health information exchange (HIE) networks.

“For 10 years, the eHealth Exchange has supported critical health data sharing between federal agencies and the communities,” said Nakashima. “That work has led to better support for patients and doctors. It’s been a decade of innovation led by our network participants in response to a changing marketplace.”

“The next decade will be just as patient-focused and participant-driven,” Nakashima continued.

eHealth Exchange also supports public health reporting, quality reporting, and disability and insurance determinations in addition to health data exchange.

The health information network plans to introduce new use cases in the future including population-level exchange, push notifications, discrete data-level queries using FHIR, and prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs), among other capabilities.

“InterSystems is thrilled to power the ever-expanding ecosystem for the eHealth Exchange,” said InterSystems HealthShare Vice President Don Woodlock. “As participation in eHealth Exchange continues to grow – in transaction volume and membership — the scalability, durability, and performance of InterSystems is perfectly suited to supporting that growth.”

“Providing better connectivity between providers of all types and the patients they serve gets us all to a shared common objective: a unified view of the patient and a more engaged and engaging healthcare system,” Woodlock added.

eHealth Exchange hopes to help healthcare organizations prepare to comply with forthcoming regulatory changes including information blocking, the CMS interoperability regulations, and ONC’s Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA).

The health information network has been in the process of updating its health IT infrastructure and corporate structure for months in an effort to promote transparent and inclusive health data exchange solutions.

eHealth Exchange leaders first announced its plans to implement Carequality in May 2018.

eHealth Exchange leaders maintain recognizing eHealth Exchange and Carequality as separate legal entities guarantees fair treatment for eHealth Exchange and other implementers that are subject to Carequality oversight.

“The coming updates were driven by the significant growth and progress of the eHealth Exchange and Carequality,” The Sequoia Project CEO Mariann Yeager explained. “We can expect to keep the operational efficiencies, while expanding Sequoia’s focus on incubating new interoperability opportunities and overcoming impediments to health information exchange.”

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