Texas HIE signs on big player

To deliver Direct Messaging capabilities
By Erin McCann
11:04 AM
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In what officials anticipate will become one of the largest state health information exchanges in the country, the Houston-based Healthconnect has just signed on its next big name member. 
 
Baylor College of Medicine has officially joined the regional health information exchange Healthconnect, which will allow the college to utilize the HIE's Direct Messaging capabilities to securely transmit electronic communication to clinicians and patients.  
 
 
"The Baylor faculty are committed to advancing standards of patient care utilizing all available and emerging technologies to accomplish that goal," said Jeffrey Steinbauer, MD, the college's chief medical information officer, in a prepared statement. "The use of Direct Messaging to securely transmit clinical information to referring physicians and patients themselves represents just the tip of the iceberg with respect to the way we envision integrating health information technologies into our practice and instruction in the near future. We intend to prepare future generations of physicians who will emerge better able to practice medicine in a new era of smart information technology."
 
To date, Healthconnect has connected more than 906,000 patient records through its HIE. In June, the Texas HIE signed on UT Physicians, the medical group practice of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Medical School. Healthconnect officials say they currently have letters of interest from 90 hospitals and more than 7,500 physicians in the greater Houston region. 
 
Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas, CHRISTUS Health of Southeast Texas and Harris Health System are already contributing and exchanging patient data via the HIE. 
 
In addition to offering Direct Messaging services, Healthconnect membership also includes a community health record and secure image sharing. 
 
"We are very pleased that Baylor has joined the network," said Tim Tindle, Healthconnect board member and chief information officer at the Harris Health System, in a statement. "Their contributions to the development of this network will be invaluable. Baylor faculty will play an important role as we refine the way the network can best be leveraged to advance patient care and make clinical practice more efficient."