Verizon's Health Information Exchange allows health care providers to share electronic medical records in a standard format. Verizon's platform also conforms to federal meaningful use guidelines for health care IT and EMRs.
Verizon Business, a division of Verizon Communications, plans to simplify
management of electronic medical records by offering a cloud platform to store
patient records in a standard format.
The Verizon Health Information Exchange, announced July 14,
will be able to translate data from 14 to 18 major health care standards using
the Oracle Healthcare Transaction Base application, Gerard
Grundler, Verizon's managing principal for Health Information Exchange
Services, told eWEEK.
"The translation engine that we have incorporated into our solution is
capable of consuming and translating all that data into meaningful, normalized
data in the clinical data repository," Grundler said. "Once you're
capable of doing that we now can apply configurable semantics to that data,
which is really what empowers some of that search capability and empowers us to
make diagnoses using different nomenclature ... across a broad, disparate
Medfx and MedVirginia also contributed technology to the project, he said.
Grundler stressed that the exchange is a "zero-footprint interface,"
with no traces of private data left behind after a session. The cloud-based
application is designed to help lessen the number of medical errors and reduce duplicative
testing as well as control administrative costs.
According to Verizon, the service will enhance patient safety because
doctors will be able to carry out necessary procedures sooner rather than
waiting for data to be translated from different standards. Using the secure
Web portal, health care providers and patients will be able to access a
consolidated health record at the point of care, according to the company.
Verizon's announcement came a day after the Obama administration released
new guidelines on meaningful use of EMRs and how clinicians can access
federal stimulus money allotted for EMRs. Under the HITECH (Health Information
Technology for Economic and Clinical Health) Act, health care professionals and
hospitals may qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentives when they adopt
certified EMR technology according to
Verizon plans to fund the cloud exchange through these government subsidies.
Components of the service include secure messaging among health care
providers, a caregiver-focused Web dashboard, a record-locator service and a
cross-enterprise patient index.
The Health Information Exchange is the latest in a series of health care
initiatives for Verizon. In March, the company launched its Medical Data
Exchange to allow clinicians to share physician-dictated patient notes
digitally, and in November it introduced Telehealth Collaboration Services, a
group of services that provides medical training and enables patients and
providers to consult with each other online.
Greater access to patient records brings concerns about privacy, and Verizon
says the exchange complies with the regulations of HIPAA (Health Insurance
Portability and Accountability Act) and the Nationwide Health Information
Network, a standards body run by the Office of the National Coordinator for
Health Information Technology.
In May, Verizon outlined its cloud strategy for secure connectivity
to data online. The company expects to start migrating customers to the Health
Information Exchange in August.
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.