Texas moves forward with HIE plans
The Texas Health Services Authority, a public-private partnership established to develop the state's health information exchanges, is moving forward with its HIE plans after officials announced Wednesday they have selected an infrastructure platform.
THSA has tapped Cambridge, Mass.-based InterSystems to develop and implement the technology infrastructure.
With the new platform, officials say Texas' 12 local HIE networks will be able to ensure patient privacy, support secure data exchange and messaging, and provide connections to HIEs in other states through the eHealth Exchange.
[See also: ONC offers HIE guidance.]
"The HealthShare platform is fully developed and can be implemented now," said Tony Gilman, CEO, Texas Health Services Authority, in a press statement. "Texas is a large and culturally diverse state … we will provide every healthcare provider – through a local HIE – the opportunity to collaborate and share electronic health records in a private, secure manner, enabling better and more patient-centric care," Gilman added.
THSA is supporting the expansion and development of 12 community-based HIE networks, which received grants from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission in 2011 to cover all of the major urban areas in Texas and have committed to connect 85 percent of the 52,000 physicians and 600 hospitals in Texas. Currently, 52 percent of physicians and 62 percent of hospitals across the 12 networks are connected to the HIEs.
Currently, Direct messaging services are available to nine out of 12 of the networks; patient summary exchange is available to five out of the 12, and electronic delivery of lab results is available to four out of the 12.
[See also: Physician approaches to HIE vary widely.]
The state is also working to extend a simple, low-cost HIE connectivity option to counties not currently supported by a local HIE network through five qualified health information service providers. Officials say as a result of these programs, all Texas physicians and hospitals have at least one option to achieve the HIE elements of federal meaningful use requirements.
Texas supports a network of networks HIE model that officials say encourages local communities to develop HIE networks that meet the technology needs of local hospitals and physician practices. By coordinating how these communities engage one another within their own network as well as with other HIEs, they will be able to address specific challenges. An emerging HIE network in Houston, for example, is focused on addressing overuse of emergency rooms. The Austin-based HIE is using information exchange and analytics to improve coordination of care for high-cost, at-risk patients. Other HIEs in Texas are focused on addressing population health and chronic disease management.