Verizon and Medfx have successfully completed a pilot project incorporating data on diabetes patients and using protocols of both the Direct Project and NWHIN health care data-sharing platforms.
Medfx have successfully implemented a pilot project on diabetes care
that integrates the protocols and standards of two government
initiatives in health
care information sharing: the Direct Project and the NWHIN (Nationwide
Health Information Network) Exchange.
The Direct Project is an ONC
of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology) program
to deliver a secure standards-based way for health care organizations
transmit encrypted medical data over the Internet.
NWHIN Exchange is a set of open-source software applications that
connect regional state and federal HIEs (health information exchanges).
Announced on April 5, the pilot project incorporates health care data from practices not yet on an EHR
(electronic health record) platform
, such as Dominion Medical Associates, in Richmond, Va.
The project involves data exchange using the open source Connectfx
clinical-exchange Web portal by Medfx, a Warwick, R.I.-based provider
of cloud health care IT software.
Dominion sends diabetes patients' paper-based care-management data
to an HIE run by Virginia-based health software provider MedVirginia
and its sister company, provider network CenVaNet.
Care managers at Dominion and CenVANet-MedVirginia will then use the
data to manage the conditions of patients with diabetes and other
For the project, Verizon's role is to be a certificate authority and verify that senders and receivers are authorized, and Medfx
allows records in multiple formats to be securely transferred under a common protocol.
The pilot allows health care practices that have yet to implement
EHR platforms to share data along with those that are already using
EHR or HIE databases.
Verizon aims to get small physician practices to share data in
digital health databases, even if they have yet to use an EHR
Small practices and individual physicians are especially burdened by
the high costs of implementing an EHR database as well as the lack
of compatibility of health care IT systems, according to Verizon.
"From a technology perspective, what we've been able to prove in
this production pilot is the actual integration capabilities of
non-EMR-based physician practices being able to communicate to and from
others without EMR or those with EMR," Gerard Grundler, Verizon's
principal for health information management, told eWEEK.
Because Dominion has yet to implement an EHR application, the
medical practice will print out records from the Dominion HIE platform
its paper-based files.
"This pilot program has great significance because many health care
providers still use paper records due to the time and expense
involved in deploying electronic record-keeping platforms," Dr. Peter
Tippett, Verizon's vice president of security and industry solutions,
said in a
statement. "By demonstrating that federal guidelines for health IT
adoption and secure electronic data exchange actually work, this pilot
is leading the way to the widespread adoption of electronic medical
records and the transformation of the U.S.
health care system."
The project is able to take unstructured data like that of a fax and allow it to be scanned and shared in an HIE.
"The vast majority of health care is being provided in paper-run doctor practices," Grundler noted.
Through the data-sharing pilot, health care facilities will be able
to transition patient care from a temporary or same-day facility to a
care center or rehabilitation center, according to Grundler.
"It covers the entire spectrum of where we need to start for PHI [patient health information] exchange in this country and where
we all want to end up, all in one pilot," he said.
"By working with Dominion Medical Associates on this trial, we are
enabling the physician practice to deliver better care-coordination for
patients while maintaining current workflows and processes,"
Shannon Lodge, director of program development, for CenVaNet, said in a
statement. "It is also providing tangible insights into the value of
sharing health information digitally and is helping pave the way for
Dominion Medical Associates' migration to electronic health records."