5 health systems join Florida HIE

The Florida Health Information Exchange added five health networks this week, bringing the total number of organizations in its system to 17.

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Broward Health, one of the country’s largest health systems, is joining FHIE along with Martin Health System, Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Miami and the Tampa Bay Regional Health Information Organization, which spans seven counties.

[See also: Delaware data exchange builds on its successes, poised for next step.]

“This effort will ultimately lead to enhancements in patient care through greater coordination among providers,” Liz Dudek, Secretary of the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, said in a press release.

After several years trying to get off the ground, in 2010 FHIE established itself via an orchestrator governance model, with the goal of linking existing Florida HIEs and regional health information organizations through a statewide system. FHIE currently provides a patient look-up service and Direct secure messaging, and is aiming to have 20 health organizations in its system by 2014, when technical assistance for providers and networks coming onboard expires.

Where FHIE fits into Florida HIE current scene and long-term future isn’t entirely clear, considering there's another statewide HIE.

In 2011, the statewide Florida Health Data Network was created, funded and operated by Tallahassee-based and physician-owned HIE Networks, with the support of the Florida Hospital Association and the Florida Medical Association. And by late July of 2012, a number of public providers joined the private HIE, including the Sarasota County Medical Society, Sarasota Memorial Hospital, and First Physician's Group.