Pennsylvania shelves plan for Delaware HIE partnership

By John Moore
11:38 PM

Pennsylvania plans to issue a request for proposals next month as it seeks a contractor to build a statewide health information exchange.

The Governor's Office of Health Care Reform detailed its HIE aims in a strategic plan recently submitted to the Office of the National Coordinator for approval.

The planned HIE, dubbed the Pennsylvania Health Information Exchange (PHIX), will let authorized users exchange and view patient information including health history, lab results and hospital records.

A draft strategic plan published late last year recommended partnering with Delaware to leverage that state's HIE technical architecture and services. That document suggested collaborating with the Delaware Health Information Network (DHIN) would speed the rollout of PHIX.

The ability to tap Delaware's DHIN contract would "accelerate the implementation of HIE functionality by as much as 18 months," according to the draft plan.

But vendors objected to the partnering recommendation during the draft plan's public comment period.

"...[T]he recommendation to partner with DHIN caused significant adverse public comments by the IT vendor community and prompted a hearing by the Pennsylvania Senate," the strategic plan stated.

"Public comment on this recommendation by the vendor community supported using a Request for Proposals (RFP) to select a contractor to build PHIX."

A $17.1 million ONC award from the federal Office of the National Coordinator serves at the primary funding for PHIX planning and implementation through fiscal 2010, according to the strategic plan.

In February, the Governor's Office of Health Care Reform announced the award, which stems from ONC's State Health Information Exchange Cooperative Agreement Program.