At the HIMSS11 conference, IBM unveiled a health information exchange with UNC Health Care and a clinical information exchange with payment software vendor Emdeon.
IBM has inked a deal with UNC Health Care
System in Chapel Hill, N.C., to power its private HIE (health information
exchange) and partnered with application developer Emdeon to collaborate on a
patient-centric clinical information exchange.
The IT giant made the announcements at the HIMSS11 (Health Information
Management and Systems Society 2011) conference in Orlando,
Fla., on Feb. 21.
UNC Health Care is a nonprofit health system owned by the state of North
Carolina and affiliated with the University of North
Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Medicine.
The HIE with UNC will allow physician practices to connect and share EHRs
(electronic health records) for patients they refer into the system, according
to Sean Cassidy, IBM's director of health
care products, information management.
Providers can also access lab results and radiology reports while tracking
patients as they're treated throughout the UNC hospital system and outlying
clinics. Plus, doctors can keep track of patients' medication, exams and test
"Our vision is an integrated health care system that allows medical
information to follow patients," J.P. Kichak, chief information officer
for UNC Health Care, said in a statement. "More importantly, we're
building a health information exchange based on a national standard to help
ensure when one of our patients goes outside of our system for any reason,
their records can be accessed by other hospitals in keeping with the hope of
one day contributing to a nationwide system of connected care."
With IBM's large presence in North
Carolina, the company has a long-standing partnership
with UNC Health Care, Cassidy wrote in an e-mail to eWEEK. "UNC Health
Care has also deployed a number of other IBM
technologies, such as analytics and data warehousing software and IBM
hardware systems," he said. "When UNC Health Care began to think
about their HIE strategy, IBM was a logical
partner for them to engage."
Unlike HIEs in other areas of the United
States, the project with UNC Health Care
will not be statewide, Cassidy noted. (Hewlett-Packard recently announced a statewide
HIE in Texas, and government
IT intelligence provider Harris is building a similar statewide exchange in Florida.)
UNC's information exchange will reach seven hospitals as well as dozens of
clinics and doctor's offices throughout North Carolina,
The IBM Health Integration Framework,
comprising Initiate Exchange, InitiatePatient and Initiate
Provider, will power UNC's HIE.
With the Initiate Exchange software, users at UNC can exchange clinical
transactions such as referrals, orders and results, Cassidy said. Initiate
Patient MPI (master person index) will allow physicians to track patients'
identities on multiple EHR platforms, and Initiate Provider offers identity and
The Initiate platform also includes an XDS (Cross-Enterprise Document
Sharing) registry and XDS repositories for UNC HIE users to store, request and
retrieve clinical documents, Cassidy added.
In another announcement at HIMSS11, Big Blue entered into a five-year
software licensing deal with revenue and payment management software vendor
Emdeon, which will use Initiate to retrieve patient records in its information
exchange network. Emdeon is one of the largest health information networks in
the country, the company reports.
With the Initiate software built in, Emdeon will allow users to call up
patients' medical history in a single view.
"This data can give health care providers important information about
their patients at the point of care," George Lazenby, Emdeon's CEO,
said in a statement. "IBM Initiate
Patient gives us the ability to produce a portable, powerful and accurate
health care record within our existing nationwide network to enable the health
care industry to leap forward in its pursuit of patient-centric health
Emdeon will use Initiate in a multiphased process. In the first phase, the
two companies will allow doctors to reconcile medication records, view medical
histories and access data for e-prescribing.
Brian T. Horowitz is a freelance technology and health writer as well as a copy editor. Brian has worked on the tech beat since 1996 and covered health care IT and rugged mobile computing for eWEEK since 2010. He has contributed to more than 20 publications, including Computer Shopper, Fast Company, FOXNews.com, More, NYSE Magazine, Parents, ScientificAmerican.com, USA Weekend and Womansday.com, as well as other consumer and trade publications. Brian holds a B.A. from Hofstra University in New York.