Meaningful use, HIE forcing interoperability

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Beth Walsh - FOR LEAD ONLY - 195.12 Kb
Beth Walsh, Editor, CMIO
Interoperability is the driving force behind many initiatives on the health IT landscape with the latest meaningful use objectives leading the way. Stage 2 will force interoperability via health information exchange (HIE) if the notice of proposed rulemaking passes as is.

Eligible providers and hospitals have their HIE work cut out for them to meet the new objectives in the notice of proposed rulemaking for meaningful use Stage 2, Chris Giancola, principal consultant at CSC Global Healthcare Group, told CMIO in an interview.

“In Stage 1, HIE was fairly watered down. Going from something ambiguous and poorly defined to a tighter definition, hospitals and providers are looking to change the HIE use case to supporting the transition of care,” he said.

Vendors haven’t historically supported HIE as robustly as they could but they might not have a choice with the new legislation. Ten percent of transitions of care have to be supported by electronic exchange, and information exchanged to satisfy the measure has to be exchanged with organizations outside the hospital and/or provider and use disparate systems. “You can’t satisfy the measure by sending clinical information from the hospital to the ambulatory group with everyone using one system,” Giancola clarified. “This forces everyone to get serious about interoperability.”

Meanwhile, states enacted more than 300 pieces of health IT legislation from 2000 to 2011, according to a report from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society's (HIMSS) State Advisory Roundtable.

The report included recommendations to states, such as continue to leverage their state-level HIE and IT infrastructure in new and innovative ways; and facilitate, engage and educate patients and consumers with the delivery of their healthcare services.

One state that has already taken action of some of the recommendations is New York. Three New York regional health information organizations and three HIE vendors will participate in the Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY).

The initial capability of the SHIN-NY will be that of Patient Record Look Up, a function similar to a search engine, allowing providers to search across databases within the SHIN-NY network to find health records relevant to their patient. The next function the SHIN-NY will deploy is Direct Exchange where providers can query each other while collaborating on patient care. 

How is your facility working with your state's HIE? Please share your experience.

Beth Walsh, CMIO editor