West Virginia builds out public-private HIN

By Erin McCann
02:24 PM
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Officials at the West Virginia Health Information Network (WVHIN) announced on Wednesday the launch of two new pilots for its statewide health information exchange (HIE) system. 

Wheeling Hospitals and West Virginia University Healthcare are the first to go live with this new part of the statewide WVHIN HIE, a public/private partnership created in 2006 aiming to create a secure electronic health information system for the exchange of patient data among physicians, hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, other care providers and stakeholders.

Working with early adopters across Medicaid, public health, and provider networks, Wheeling Hospitals and West Virginia University Healthcare (WVUH) were selected to be the first pilot sites. 

[Q&A: What the NwHIN folks are learning from VA, DoD open source efforts.]

Officials say the WVHIN launches with the ability to access the clinical information of more than 2.1 million patients, including lab results (37 million distinct results), diagnosis history (96 million diagnoses), allergies (2.4 million) and patient visit history (88 million distinct patient visits over last 6 years).

According to WVHIN officials, the HIE utilizes a Truven Health Analytics solution to provide clinicians with a longitudinal patient history at the point of care by capturing real-time clinical and administrative data from electronic medical records, healthcare claims, West Virginia Medicaid Services and the WV State Immunization Registry. 

Moreover, the exchange also connects with the West Virginia e-Directive Registry, effectively making it the first HIE to integrate end of life care choices made by patients, giving providers access to living wills, durable medical power of attorney and other end of life care-related documents, officials say. 

"Implementing our HIE at Wheeling Hospitals and WVU Healthcare allows us to quickly achieve unparalleled interoperability throughout our state's facilities," said Phil Weikle, chief operating officer at WVHIN. "This brings us closer to care coordination, improved care, reduced cost, and improved communication across the care continuum."

[See also: ONC to stand up NwHIN-Exchange in October as non-federal entity.]

By implementing the HIE, WVHIN meets a significant milestone in its strategic and operational plan, officials say. Through the use of NwHIN DIRECT secure messaging, the HIE allows providers and other healthcare stakeholders in the state to share timely information for treatment purposes. Capitalizing on this strong launch with valuable data and connectivity, WVHIN is now focused on expanding to additional providers, and expects to greatly improve the overall health and cost of healthcare for West Virginians over time.

"We are very pleased to be a partner with WVHIN, Wheeling Hospitals and WVU Healthcare in deploying our HIE as a pivotal step to foster improved medical decision-making for patients in West Virginia," said C. Douglas Shaw, executive vice president and general manager for Truven Health Analytics' hospital business. "The promise of affordable, less fragmented, and improved care is becoming a reality in West Virginia."