Electronic Health Records

Integration & Interoperability News

Health Information Exchange Advances in Texas, Georgia

By Kyle Murphy, PhD

The future of some health information exchanges are in doubt, but health data exchange continues to make inroads in Georgia and Texas following two recent announcements by the Georgia Health Information Network (GaHIN) and Greater Houston Healthconnect.

Georgia's statewide HIE has connected regional HIE Georgia Health Connect to its network, given healthcare organizations and providers using the network access to clinical data.

"We are pleased to welcome GaHC to the GaHIN network, which increases the ability of providers throughout the state of Georgia to easily and securely access patient information," GaHIN Executive Director Denise Hines said in a public statement. "Regardless of location, size and technology, providers in Georgia have the ability to decrease the cost of care by eliminating unnecessary costs, and increase the quality of care with longitudinal patient records."

The statewide HIE enables the exchange of health data for the purpose of improving care coordination with support for Direct sure messaging and the ability to query and access patient records, exchange patient records with other providers, and submit data to public health agencies. As a result, eligible providers using GaHIE services have the means for fulfilling Stage 1 and Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements for health data exchange.

Several months earlier, the public-private HIE collaborative become one of the first HIEs to enable the state-to-state exchange of health information by connecting with the South Carolina Health Information Exchange (SCHIEx).

As for the Greater Houston Healthconnect, the HIE serving the southeastern region of Texas now counts St. Joseph Medical Center (SJMC), Houston's oldest hospital, among its members.

"With Healthconnect we are able to extend our impact beyond the point of discharge so our patients may rest assured their vital information can follow them wherever they go," SJMC Mark Bernard explained on Tuesday. "And our emergency room team can better ensure patient safety by viewing prior information about a patient’s existing health status, medications and allergies. It’s an important new service available to the St. Joseph community."

With more than 90 hospitals and 7500 providers, the HIE has grown to become the state's biggest  community network for health data exchange. Similar to GaHIE, the Greater Houston Healthconnect includes Direct secure messaging among its list of services, in this instance through the use of the Direct Trust Bundle. Additionally, the Houston-area HIE also works on EHR interoperability through strategic partnerships with several EHR vendors.

Another gain for interoperability

In related health data exchange news, Magruder Hospital has reached an agreement with CommonWell Health Alliance for its interoperability services.

"Magruder Hospital is committed to providing treatment to people beyond the walls of the hospital," the Ohioan hospital's Director of Information Technology Chuck Dellick stated Monday. "Signing up to use CommonWell services was an easy decision for us, since their approach to interoperability will help us connect to important patient information that happens outside of the hospital walls."




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