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Surprising pacesetters in the HIE movement

Virginia physicians are sharing messages, patient records, lab results, dictated reports, discharge summaries, and other scanned documents with a secured statewide messaging service that launched this month.

A nonprofit healthcare corporation and a for-profit technology company announced that the first phase of ConnectVirginia launched February 17, according to Community Health Alliance Inc. and MEDfx Corp.

The first phase, direct messaging, allows providers to exchange or “push” data to each other, including patient records in interoperable continuity of care document (CCD) format. Later this year, doctors will be able to query the records of other HIE-subscribed doctors about a specific patient. If a patient has opted in with ConnectVirginia, a provider may retrieve or “pull” health information in the CCD format. 

Direct messaging is built with national security and encryption standards to allow providers to share a patient’s medical history securely, according to a statement from the organizations.

Community Health Alliance was awarded a contract from the Virginia Department of Health in October to establish and operate Virginia’s statewide HIE. Physicians must subscribe to the database to send or receive data.

Meanwhile, the Indiana Health Information Exchange (IHIE) announced in February a partnership with AT&T to integrate the telecom company’s Healthcare Community Online software platform to expand the network’s data capacity. As the nation’s largest health information exchange organization, the IHIE contains data from 10 million patients, more than 19,000 physicians, and more than 80 facilities.

IHIE plans to add another 60 hospitals to the exchange this year, according to a statement.

“Our vision is to establish a model of health information exchange for the nation,” said Harold J. Apple, president and chief executive officer of IHIE.

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