HIETexas Momentum Continues with Expanded Connectivity, Increased Interoperability and Additional Data Sources
Texas is one of 110 live production participants of the eHealth Exchange, a national network for secure, trusted and interoperable health information exchange (HIE) managed by The Sequoia Project. Through this partnership, HIETexas is expanding the number of data sources with which authorized Texas providers will be able to securely exchange health data. The eHealth Exchange currently connects 30 percent of U.S. hospitals, 10,000 medical groups, and 100 million patients, and is a completely federated network.
Expanded Connections in Texas
Healthcare Access San Antonio (HASA), the local HIE that serves the San Antonio area, has made progress in connecting to HIETexas, a secure network of local and private HIEs offering local HIEs a set of state-level shared services that enables health care providers to electronically exchange patients' health information across Texas and the nation through the eHealth Exchange. HASA joined HIETexas as a purely federated local HIE. HASA is in the process of loading a test patient to validate a new deployment of the HASA HIE software that should allow interoperability with HIETexas.
The Integrated Care Collaboration (ICC) has deployed an updated gateway to allow ICC to query the eHealth Exchange via HIETexas. The update is undergoing testing at this time. ICC also increased its patient demographics feed update frequency from one day to two hours, allowing a patient’s medical record to “follow them” closer to real time. This especially helps those patients seeing multiple providers in a single day. ICC is already able to respond to queries from eHealth Exchange Participants via HIETexas.
The Health Exchange Leveraging PDMP (HELP) for Texans project, a program that aims to improve real-time access to Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP) data, approved the Implementation Specification which will enable development activities to begin. The HELP for Texans PDMP vendor has nearly completed their development activities, which will allow testing to begin in the near future. The HELP project is being deployed under a federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant to facilitate EMR-to-PDMP interoperability.
Greater Houston Healthconnect (GHH) deployed a system update which appears to allow GHH the ability to respond to queries from eHealth Exchange participants outside the state. GHH remains able to query and share information with those HIETexas connected organizations inside the State of Texas.
INOVA Health System, a health care provider in the Virginia and D.C. regions, entered into production operations with HIETexas. This deployment is notable because the effort to go live was less than four hours from the time the production testing started until it was successfully completed. This sets a new benchmark for onboarding speed, and demonstrates that two well-prepared organizations can set up production exchanges very quickly. INOVA is part of ConnectVirginia.
University of Virginia, also a part of ConnectVirginia, is undergoing testing in the HIETexas test environment.
The Kansas Health Information Network (KHIN) and HIETexas collaborated and applied updates to their software to resolve issues preventing full interoperability. The updates are now being tested.
The North Dakota Health Information Network (NDHIN) completed testing in the HIETexas test environment, and is now being moved into the production environment to complete testing there as well.
National and Specialty Connections
The Veterans Health Administration (VHA), a component of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and an eHealth Exchange participant, is working to establish connectivity with HIETexas. To solve connectivity challenges, HIETexas has reconfigured its gateway. The VHA is in the process of making adjustments to their system so testing can commence with a new configuration.
The Department of Defense (DoD) has begun testing with HIETexas. Given the strong active-duty military population in Texas, this is considered a high priority connection. Initial testing was completed quickly and successfully. More testing is underway at this time.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) engaged with HIETexas to begin onboarding. Currently, the SSA is working with HIETexas and the Austin-area HIE, ICC, to validate content interoperability and sufficiency. The SSA uses electronic information exchange to accelerate the processing of disability claims by many months, as compared to the equivalent paper process.
Recently, HIETexas joined Carequality, a public-private, multi-stakeholder collaborative that seeks to enable seamless connectivity across all participating health exchange networks. With this new partnership, HIETexas began interoperability testing with Carequality members, specifically CareEverywhere and Surescripts. CareEverywhere is a vendor-deployed network of Epic-branded programs, widely-used electronic health record (EHR) systems, that uses the same standards as HIETexas and the eHealth Exchange, and allows Epic deployments to act as a network of connected participants. HIETexas has completed approximately 83 percent of tests with CareEverywhere in the test environment. Additionally, testing is now being scheduled with Surescripts and is expected to begin shortly.
Lastly, a national kidney dialysis center network required additional demographics from HIETexas to match patients accurately. HIETexas deployed the updated configuration and has resumed, what is expected to be final, testing.