Connection Update

Understanding HIETexas: THSA Provides Significant Benefits, Expanded Connectivity to Local HIEs

 

Understanding HIE Texas

The THSA was created by the Texas Legislature in 2007 as a public private partnership, legally structured as a nonprofit corporation, to support the improvement of the Texas health care system by promoting and coordinating health information exchange (HIE) and health information technology (HIT) throughout the state.

Texas’ plan to implement electronic HIE statewide is patient-centric, market-based, and community-driven. Texas has eight community-based HIEs (known as “local HIEs”) and a number of private HIE networks. To foster HIE growth and adoption across the state, the THSA provides ongoing strategic support to local HIEs.

The THSA has made available to each local network a set of shared services, referred to as HIETexas. One of the most significant benefits of joining HIETexas is the HIE-to-HIE connectivity between authorized HIEs in Texas and across the country. In other words, through HIETexas, local HIEs in Texas not only have connectivity to one other but also have connections to many data sources across the state and the nation through the eHealth Exchange. The eHealth Exchange is a national network for secure, trusted and interoperable HIE. HIETexas is one of 110 live participants in the eHealth Exchange.

  • Connecting to large health systems outside of Texas. For example, Presbyterian Healthcare Services, a health care provider in New Mexico, is in production operations with HIETexas.
  • Connecting to other state HIEs. For example, Coordinated Care Oklahoma, an HIE covering Oklahoma City is also in production operations with HIETexas.
  • Connecting to national sources. For example, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is working to establish connectivity with HIETexas. The Department of Defense (DoD) has also begun testing with HIETexas. Given the strong active-duty military population in Texas, this is an important connection.
  • Specialty data sources. For example, a national kidney dialysis center network is testing with HIETexas.

For more information on the status of HIETexas’ connections to data sources, please view the THSA 2015 annual report, “Health Information Exchange: Transforming Health Care in Texas” found at http://hietexas.org/news-archive/342-thsa-releases-2015-annual-report.

In addition to the expanded connectivity that comes with on-boarding to HIETexas, another benefit is that local HIEs have access to critical functions that provide operational savings and offer uniformity in administrative, legal and compliance functions. For example, the THSA offers legal services free of charge to local HIEs. In 2015, THSA attorneys donated approximately 150 hours of free legal services to local HIEs. Additionally, THSA is working to identify interface services that are available to meet the needs of the local HIEs and those who connect to HIEs. Last year, THSA issued a request for information (RFI) and fifteen responses were received from a variety of technology-related firms. Find a summary of the responses at www.hietexas.org/about-thsa/rfps. THSA is evaluating next steps and how these technologies can assist local HIEs.

Select local HIEs in Texas are reaping the benefits of HIETexas participation. Integrated Care Collaboration (ICC) is entering its second year as a HIETexas participant, and recently deployed a system update, which allows ICC the ability to respond to queries from eHealth Exchange participants outside the state. Greater Houston Healthconnect (GHH) is also entering its second year as a HIETexas participant, and is planning to deploy a new gateway to allow GHH to query the eHealth Exchange via HIETexas. Most recently, Healthcare Access San Antonio (HASA), the local HIE that serves the San Antonio and Dallas regions, has made progress in connecting to HIETexas.

“The THSA Board of Directors and staff have renewed their commitment to helping other local HIEs continue to advance their efforts to connect to HIETexas,” said Tony Gilman, CEO of THSA. “Our goal is to offer cost-effective approaches so that each local HIE has the opportunity to connect and receive the benefits of HIETexas.”