HP, GE, Harris Heat Up Health Information Exchange Development

HP gets a $30 million contract to build an HIE in Texas, while GE and KeyHIE expand a health information network in Pennsylvania and Harris takes the HIE reins in Florida.

Amid a flurry of new HIEs (health information exchanges) around the country, on Jan. 12 Hewlett-Packard announced a 52-month services deal with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to create a statewide Medicaid HIE.

HP is the principal IT provider for Medicaid in 21 states.

HIEs provide a unified platform for physicians to access EHRs (electronic health records), containing past histories of patients and lessen the risk of duplicate data. This capability can help doctors pick up information on chronic conditions and prior treatment.

Under the $30 million contract, HP will provide Web tools to replace paper-based Medicaid ID cards, streamline provider interaction and increase access to health information.

"States need to improve health outcomes and enable better access to health care records," Susan Arthur, vice president of U.S. Healthcare, HP Enterprise Services, said in a statement. "With more than four decades of industry-leading experience, HP will provide the cost-effective health care solutions Texans need."

The arrangement is part of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission's Instant-On Government initiative to provide continuous connectivity.

The HIE's Web portal will allow 70,000 Medicaid providers to access patients' health histories. In addition, the service allows doctors to e-prescribe medication to reduce prescription abuse and minimize errors, HP reports.

Health care recipients will also have access to the HIE and its automated-messaging capability, according to HP.

InterComponentWare's eHealth Framework, an extensible and interoperable platform, will power the HIE.

GE, KeyHIE collaborate on HIE in Pennsylvania

Meanwhile, on Jan. 11, GE Healthcare and health provider network KeyHIE (Keystone Health Information Exchange) announced it will expand their HIE for the central and northeast Pennsylvania communities. KeyHIE is rolling out the HIE in phases to its nearly 3 million patients in 31 counties of Pennsylvania.

The Web-based health database is built around GE's scalable eHealth platform, GE reports.

GE and KeyHIE will connect several health care facilities in the region to the HIE, including Geisinger Health Systems, Community Medical Center, Evangelical Community Hospital, Mid-Valley Hospital, Moses Taylor Hospital and Shamokin Area Community Hospital.

"Working with GE, we've achieved our initial goal of enhancing patient care by providing critical patient information, like problems, medications, allergies, to our emergency department physicians," said Jim Younkin, director of KeyHIE. "Our next step is to use our health information exchange to accelerate collaboration among a broader set of clinicians."

"KeyHIE supports a highly effective model of coordinated care," Earl Jones, vice president and general manager of GE Healthcare's eHealth Solutions business unit, said in a statement. "KeyHIE has the right focus on improving both patient care in the hospital and at home and on reducing cost inefficiencies, like redundant tests, though better information sharing."

The Web-based HIE will allow case managers to receive auto-generated notifications of patient encounters from the unified patient database, freeing them to spend more time with patients.

Harris wins contract for open source HIE in Florida

In another HIE development, Florida's AHCA (Agency for Health Care Administration) awarded a four-year $19 million contract to government IT intelligence provider Harris to create an HIE throughout the state. Harris is a major provider of federal health care IT systems.

Florida's open source HIE will connect physicians, hospitals, regional health information exchanges and state government agencies.

Harris' project, announced Dec. 22, builds on Connect, the open-source platform it created for the federal Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, according to Jim Traficant, vice president and general manager of Harris Healthcare Solutions. Connect allows health professionals to access NHIN (the Nationwide Health Information Network).

"We're leveraging open source like we did at the federal level with Connect, and we're taking this capability and making it available to connect the constituents in the health care framework in Florida," Traficant told eWEEK.