Electronic Health Records

Integration & Interoperability News

KHIN creates HIE patient portal, accepts patient-provided data

By Jennifer Bresnick

The Kansas Health Information Network (KHIN) is preparing to launch a first-of-its-kind HIE-based patient portal for all members of the statewide system, reports the Wichita Eagle.  Instead of connection to a primary care physician’s EHR record, the portal will draw together all available information throughout the health information exchange (HIE) system, and will also allow patients to upload their own data to the record.

“The goal is to really help patients become more engaged in their health care,” says KHIN Executive Director Laura McCrary. “If they don’t have a place where they can see all of their health information, it makes it hard to be engaged if you don’t know your current list of medications or the results of your last test or your current diagnosis.”  KHIN has passed one million patients connected to the network, spread over 300 Kansas providers.

In addition to providing a useful service for patients, those providers will receive an extra edge heading into Stage 2 of meaningful use, which requires 5% of patients to access their personal information online.  Once a patient looks at her record through the KHIN portal, the visit will count towards the statistics of every single provider she is actively using, McCrary says.  Patients can also securely email their providers to ask questions or schedule appointments.

“With their established roles and relationships as health information aggregators and integrators, HIEs are poised to enter into the equation, providing value to both consumers and clinicians,” writes Jeff Donnell, President of NoMoreClipboard, which is powering the KHIN portal. “HIEs are equipped to integrate with whatever systems and technologies their providers already use, and they can aggregate and disseminate health data from multiple sources direct to consumers in a standardized format.”

Users will also be able to upload patient-generated data, such as exercise and diet information and over-the-counter medication lists, as well as records from providers who may not be taking part in the HIE.  Patient-generated data is a tentative part of Stage 3 requirements for meaningful use, and is becoming more popular with patients who use mHealth tools and personal tracking devices to monitor their health.

KHIN will also be tackling the problem of storing images online in the near future.  X-rays and other imaging studies can eat up server space at a rapid rate, and the HIE is seeking an economical way to provide image sharing functionality without burning files onto CDs.  Instead, KHIN is investigating ways to streamline cloud-based access to the data for providers in need of viewing the files.  “If there’s a way to make it available in real time to providers and patients and a way to store it in a way that doesn’t take up so much space, we’re looking for a company to do all of those things,” McCrary said.

The portal will be available for free to Kansas patients, and access to the system is included in the fees provider members already pay to take part in the HIE.  McCrary hopes the portal will go live next month.

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