Verizon launches cloud-based HIE

By Mike Miliard
11:08 AM

Verizon has announced a new health info exchange initiative, available via the cloud, to enable the sharing of patient information between healthcare systems on incompatible IT platforms.

The Verizon Health Information Exchange will consolidate clinical patient data from providers and translate it into a standardized format that can be securely accessed over the Web. Participating exchange providers across communities, states and regions will be able to request patient data via a secure online portal, regardless of the IT systems and specific protocols the providers use, enabling them to obtain a more complete view of a patient's health history, no matter where the data is stored.

"By breaking down the digital silos within the U.S. healthcare delivery system, the Verizon Health Information Exchange will address many of the interoperability barriers that prevent sharing of clinical data between physicians, clinics, hospitals and payers," said Kannan Sreedhar, vice president and global managing director, Verizon Connected Health Care Solutions. "Providing secure access to patient data will enable healthcare organizations to make a quantum leap forward in the deployment of IT to meet critical business and patient-care issues."

Verizon says the service is well-suited for both large and small healthcare providers. With monthly charges based on a provider's patient-record volume, subscribers only pay for what they use. In addition, its availability via Verizon's cloud computing platform will allow healthcare organizations to use their own IT systems, processes and workflows, without large additional capital expenditures.

The information exchange will also meet stringent federal standards for privacy, including provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, executives say. It will use strong identity access management controls to provide security for sensitive patient information. Only authorized users will have access to patient clinical data.

In addition, the platform will comply with the requirements of the Nationwide Health Information Network, a collection of standards, protocols, legal agreements, specifications and services overseen by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to support the secure exchange of health information over the Internet.

To build out the solution, Verizon will leverage the capabilities of several key technology and service providers – MEDfx, MedVirginia and Oracle – to deliver key features of the service including: clinical dashboard , record locator service, cross-enterprise patient index and secure clinical messaging.

"The ability to dynamically scale technical resources and pay for those used are key benefits of health information exchange platforms hosted in the cloud," said Lynne A. Dunbrack, program director, IDC Health Insights. "Cloud-based platforms will appeal to small to mid-sized organizations looking to shift technology investment from cap-ex to op-ex and to large regional or statewide initiatives that need to establish connectivity with myriad stakeholders with divergent needs and interoperability requirements."

The HIE is the latest in a series of initiatives Verizon has implemented to help accelerate the use of technology in healthcare. In March, Verizon Business launched the Verizon Medical Data Exchange, and last November, the company introduced Verizon Telehealth Collaboration Services.

Among the clients planning to adopt the new Verizon platform is MedVirginia, a Richmond-based organization that has long focused on initiatives to improve the quality, safety and efficiency of healthcare through IT, including the 2006 launch of MedVirginia Solution, a community-based health information exchange.

"MedVirginia projects continued growth in the expanding marketplace for health IT," said Michael Matthews, the organization's CEO and the chairman of the NHIN Compatibility Committee administered by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. "Our current and future needs require enhanced functionality, flexibility, performance and scalability, and the cloud-based Verizon Health Information Exchange meets those requirements."