August 23, 2012

Hospitals 'On-Board' State Health Information Exchange

FHA hosted a briefing on the Florida Health Information Exchange (HIE), a joint effort between the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and Harris Corporation with the goal of providing a statewide infrastructure to facilitate the most high-quality, efficient care delivery possible for all Florida patients. The network is being developed in order to connect community-based exchanges to each other across the state, while also enabling connectivity to those providers without any prior digital exchange capabilities.

AHCA and Harris walked hospitals through the process of joining the Florida HIE and update the participants on the status of the project and the sustainability plan.  The project provides connectivity portal for all providers of healthcare.  The presentation is available for download.  The Florida HIE is comprised of two different, yet complimentary services. 

The first service is Patient Look-Up (PLU) which follows a query-and-retrieve data exchange model based on national CONNECT standards. This service is designed to sit on top of existing exchanges and data sources, permits each one to query the entire state or a particular region for information on a patient. This "network of networks" allows providers to obtain a standardized continuity of care document (CCD) containing valuable patient data in a matter of seconds. The PLU service is currently available to large provider organizations such as hospitals, IDNs, IPAs, and Regional Health Information Organizations (RHIOs). 17 prominent provider organizations throughout the state have already applied for access and been selected to connect to the PLU network.  AHCA is in the process of permitting additional organizations to apply for access.  If you are interested in "on-boarding" you need to make application to the Agency.

The second service is Direct Secure Messaging (DSM). Based on national Direct protocols, DSM is a web portal-based messaging system for point-to-point sharing of clinical data. The service is encrypted so as to be HIPAA compliant. These messages can include attachments of any kind, up to 10 megabytes in size. DSM is envisioned as being a faster and more efficient way to transport data compared to traditional FAX machines. Most importantly, DSM is free to providers and their staffs. A provider needs only an Internet connection in order to be able to share protected health information with providers throughout the state in a HIPAA-compliant manner. DSM is not only available to providers, but has been expanded to include pharmacies, health plans, and state agencies that normally have access to patient data as covered entities under HIPAA. DSM currently has over 600 users throughout Florida - a figure that will increase significantly over the coming months. DSM will connect to providers in other states to facilitate cross-border data exchange and such a connection has been recently completed with the Alabama HIE.

For more information on either of the Florida HIE's services: PLU and DSM, visit the Florida HIE Web site.