Electronic Health Records

Integration & Interoperability News

Texas HIE Merger Brings Millions of Records Under One Roof

By Sara Heath

Health information exchange (HIE) has been expanded throughout northern and western Texas thanks to an initiative by HASA, a health information organization, according to a recent press release. This initiative will expand HASA operations across San Antonio into Dallas by merging with North Texas Accountable Healthcare Partnership (NTAHP), bringing the electronic health records of patients all under the same EHR system.

The merger will connect HASA to NTHAP’s 11 counties, 11,700 physicians, 137 hospitals, and 6.5 million individuals. This will allow for more patient records to be accessed over the same EHR regardless of the specific facility at which a patient is receiving care, increasing interoperability throughout Texas.

HASA officials say that this merger will help to bring greater quality of care to patients throughout north and west Texas by providing real-time access to patient records.

“This merger is a major milestone for Texas in that patients in need of emergency medical care may be hours away from home and still can have their medical history available,” said HASA’s executive director Gijs Van Oort. “With the Corpus Christi region already sharing patient information on the same platform, the expanded HIE will be able to connect patients and doctors at opposite ends of the I35 corridor where each day hundreds of thousands of people travel from one city to the other.”

By providing that essential real-time access to patient records, physicians will be able to provide patients with care more quickly and efficiently, potentially shaving off valuable time in treating patients.

"There is no doubt that lives will be saved by the sharing of real-time medical information from within this broader platform,” says HASA board chair Don Macaulay. “This new expanded HIE will make it possible for doctors throughout Texas to securely access patient information from many different participating facilities in a matter of seconds."

NTHAP officials state that the choice to partner with HASA was an easy one provided HASA’s record of improving HIE throughout the state.

"Once it became clear that we needed to consolidate in order to bring better value to our stakeholders, HASA was the logical choice,” says NTHAP executive director Joe Lastinger. “They have the organizational maturity, a proven business model, and a great technical solution."

The merger will be overseen by Phil Beckett, PhD, the former chief technology officer at Greater Houston Healthconnect. Through this merger, Beckett hopes to make HIE a permanent fixture in the healthcare industry.

“I'm looking forward to the next couple of years of HIE development in Texas and hoping and planning to see it become part of the fabric of how health care is delivered,” he says. “It is my hope that soon we will wonder how we ever lived without it.”

Discussions of this merger began in May when the boards of both organizations met to fine tune the details of their merger agreement. Now that an official agreement between the two HIEs has been met, they will serve approximately 90 percent of the hospitals in the San Antonio area and throughout the I35 area.

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