Verizon expands medical data exchange

By Mike Miliard
10:52 AM

In a move aimed to help the healthcare industry accelerate the use of electronic medical records, Verizon is expanding its Medical Data Exchange platform to allow the sharing of more types of digital patient health information.

Until now, the Verizon Medical Data Exchange had facilitated transcriptionist-to-physician and physician-to-physician sharing of dictated notes. But this expanded offering now enables a wider range of healthcare providers – from large health systems to rural hospitals and small physician practices – to securely share additional digital records, such as X-rays and lab results.

To help enable this transition, Verizon is introducing new IT consulting services targeted to meet the needs of providers that can now use the Medical Data Exchange. These professional services will help members of the exchange quickly leverage the nationally available platform as more providers increasingly embrace electronic medical records.

"The Verizon Medical Data Exchange is a first-of-its-kind platform and another important step in realizing the promise of a truly digitized healthcare system in the U.S.," said Peter Tippett, vice president, technology and innovation, Verizon Business. "The expanded capabilities of our data exchange will help accelerate the shift from paper-based to electronic-based medical records, and in the process help speed patient diagnoses and drive productivity and cost efficiency throughout the U.S. healthcare system."

Verizon notes that several new members have signed on to the expanded exchange, including Alert Notification, a personalized emergency notification and health records provider; Amaji, which provides digital clinical documentation services; NLP International Corporation, a provider of natural language processing software; Tolven, which makes open-source health informatics software; and ZyDoc Medical Transcription, a provider of medical knowledge-management technology.

These members join the founding members of the group, which include Verizon; ICSA Labs, an independent division of Verizon Business; the Medical Transcription Industry Association; and medical transcription companies MD-IT, MedQuist, MxSecure, Sten-Tel and Webmedx.

In addition, the Medical Transcription Service Consortium, which was created to support the operation of the exchange, has been renamed the Medical Data Exchange Consortium in order to reflect the consortium's expanded mission and focus. ICSA Labs continues to play a key role in managing the consortium and its activities as a neutral third party.

"Verizon is delivering on the initial promise of moving the focus of its Medical Data Exchange beyond transcriptions to encompass the entire healthcare ecosystem," said Amy DeCarlo, principal analyst, security and data center services, Current Analysis. "Opening up the platform  to other forms of medical records will encourage the sharing of digital information in a secure manner."

Launched this past March, the Verizon Medical Data Exchange seeks to better enable the sharing of electronic medical records. Available nationwide, it's designed to meet meaningful use requirements and help clinicians better coordinate patient care and reduce administrative costs.

"The Verizon Medical Data Exchange enables us to help our clients demonstrate meaningful use in several critical ways," said Robin Daigh, vice president, marketing and business development, MD-IT. "Meaningful use requires that hospitals and eligible physicians securely and electronically share health information. With minimal investment and a mandatory security audit, the exchange helps meet these requirements with the added benefit of maintaining existing provider work flows."