Texas, Rhode Island, Florida Move Forward on HIE Databases

Accenture completes an assessment on an HIE for Texas, InterSystems rolls out Rhode Island's exchange, and Harris adds secure messaging for Florida's health records database.

Texas, Rhode Island and Florida have announced new developments in their efforts to allow doctors and clinicians to view and share electronic health records through HIEs.

Health information exchanges enable hospitals, laboratories, pharmacies and physicians to access electronic health records (EHRs) in multiple databases and formats. Interoperability with multiple systems allows HIE databases to qualify for federal financial incentives.

On Sept. 7, consulting and technology services firm Accenture completed an assessment for the Texas Health Services Authority (THSA) and detailed how that state can maintain interoperability for its HIE.

Accenture works with technology vendors to develop integrated products for government IT projects, while the THSA is a public-private partnership contracted by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to boost the Texas health care system and promote IT initiatives such as HIEs.

Under Accenture's strategy, HIEs will be interoperable among unaffiliated organizations, the company reports. Accenture has formed an enterprise architecture blueprint (EAB) that lays out the EAB life cycle in three parts over six years. The company has also published specifications detailing how data should flow to local and regional HIEs.

In a separate development, on Jan. 12 HP announced it had been awarded a contract by the Texas HHSC to create a statewide Medicaid HIE, allowing 70,000 Medicaid providers to access patient medical histories. Meanwhile, health IT company Sandlot has also developed an HIE for Texas to allow organizations to share data and analyze population health.

On Sept. 6, health care software developer InterSystems announced the rollout of Rhode Island's HIE.

Called Currentcare, the database is based on InterSystems' HealthShare informatics platform. HealthShare provides a universal view of HIE data in real time for both internal and external systems, according to InterSystems.

HealthShare also provides analytics on structured and unstructured medical data and powers the health record databases for organizations such as Johns Hopkins Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and UCLA Medical Center.

InterSystems plans to allow doctors to use the platform to notify medical homes when a patient is discharged from a hospital and returned to a live-in facility.

The Rhode Island Quality Institute (RIQI) manages the rollout of the HIE. Initially, the data exchange will incorporate lab results of 165,000 Rhode Island residents from East Side Clinical Laboratory, based in East Providence.

The Rhode Island project will involve a scalable approach, and data will be available in real time, according to RIQI.

On Aug. 30, Harris, a company that designs and manages IT infrastructure for the government, began offering Direct Secure Messaging, a secure email service for Florida's HIE to allow doctors to exchange data electronically.

"Transforming health care requires a secure and connected framework," Jim Traficant, president of Harris Healthcare Solutions, said in a statement. "Direct Secure Messaging is another standards-based innovation delivered by Harris to enable Florida, other states and health enterprises to share critical health information in a trusted exchange model."

Direct Secure Messaging is the first step for Florida's HIE database, according to Harris. This fall, the IT company will add Patient Look-up, a service that will allow clinicians to access individual EHRs from those practices contributing records to the Florida HIE.

Harris plans to add at least 20 health care organizations by 2014.