Greater Houston HIE puts Direct Project to work

By Bernie Monegain
10:42 AM

The Greater Houston Health Information Exchange (GHHIE) is now operational after two physician groups successfully exchanged secure clinical messages via the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology's Direct Project Protocol service.

These organizations were the first to utilize the secure, electronic infrastructure of the GHHIE. The GHHIE will begin offering these services to participating healthcare providers in the Greater Houston area next month.

[See also: Direct Project goes live with pilot data exchanges.]
Northwest Diagnostic Clinic, P.A. and Digestive & Liver Disease Consultants, P.A., began exchanging secure clinical messages in mid-December, greatly improving the timeliness of communication for both groups while reducing administrative costs, GHHIE officials say.
The nonprofit GHHIE, a collaborative health information exchange founded by the Harris County Healthcare Alliance and the Center for Houston's Future in mid-2010, is developing the ability to electronically connect healthcare and wellness providers to enable access to patient information for continuity of care. The Direct Project functionality is the first step.
Northwest Diagnostic Clinic treats Houston families at clinic locations in The Woodlands, and near the Texas Medical Center. Digestive & Liver Disease Consultants, located in Northwest Houston, is one of the first practices in the country to digitize all operations including patient medical records and transform into a paperless office.

[See also: Ohio first state to use Direct messaging across state lines,]
"Using GHHIE's electronic network, we will be able to better facilitate patient care," said Guru N. Reddy, MD, founder of Digestive & Liver Consultants, P.A. and president of the Harris County Medical Society. "The fast, secure, and accurate exchange of information facilitated by the GHHIE provides a tangible benefit, both for us as caregivers and for our patients."

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