New Statewide Health Data Network Will Improve Patient Care December 13, 2011Posted by gonzalezloumiet in Data Integration, EMR, Health Care, Interoperability, NHIN, open source, Stimulus Plan, Technology.
Tags: BBRHIO, Direct, FHA, FHDN, FMA, NwHIN, Uber Operations
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida healthcare patients soon will receive more collaborative and streamlined care with improved safety, outcomes, privacy and efficiency thanks to the launch of a new, secure, cloud-based, statewide health information exchange (HIE) network.
Leaders from a new Florida company, HIE Networks, the Florida Hospital Association and the Florida Medical Association joined forces at a news conference to announce the creation of the Florida Health Data Network (FHDN), which will make patient medical records easily accessible to authorized healthcare providers.
FHDN is a statewide network developed, solely funded and operated by HIE Networks LLC, a private, physician-owned, national provider of integrated digital medical records technology. Based in Tallahassee, Fla., HIE Networks grew out of its co-founders’ successful piloting of the Big Bend Regional Healthcare Information Organization (BBRHIO), a health information exchange network serving nine counties in North Florida which has been nationally-recognized as one of the top 12 regional HIEs in the country.
“One of the greatest challenges to providing efficient, cost-effective, high-quality health care is access to patients’ medical history by health care providers,” said Dr. Dan Kaelin, co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of HIE Networks. “The Florida Health Data Network will change that forever.”
FHDN can connect hospitals, physicians, laboratories, pharmacies and insurers without geographic boundaries using “cloud” technology that allows for the networking and sharing of patient clinical records in a secure, fully integrated, health information exchange, said Allen Byington, co-founder and CEO of HIE Networks.
“The core HIE technology allows for providers, hospitals and communities to avoid bearing the high capital cost of acquiring and maintaining the initial technology, requiring only a modest monthly service fee,” said Byington. “Leveraging the FHDN technology, providers only have to fund their Electronic Medical Record (EMR) vendors’ interface cost and a small staff-training fee. Our goal is to significantly reduce the capital barrier to HIE adoption nationally.”
“By exchanging patient clinical records in a robust HIE network, physicians can eradicate inefficiencies, duplication of services and medical errors,” said Kaelin.
“Hospital emergency rooms can better provide prompt diagnosis and treatment. Pharmacists can be certain that a new prescription doesn’t conflict with an existing one. Lab and radiology results can be shared and accessed instantly for prompt evaluation and treatment. Patients have more knowledge and control of their treatments and procedures. Elimination of duplicative testing and elimination of waste will help streamline treatment, reduce delivery costs, reduce errors and, most importantly, improve outcomes and save lives.”
“Another unique aspect and value of the FHDN,” said Byington, ”is that it is community-based, local-provider-driven and compatible with other local groups and networks – including BBRHIO and the Gulf Coast Health Information Exchange based in Manatee County – united under HIE Networks’ core HIE technology umbrella.”
The HIE Networks’ endorsements by the Florida Hospital Association (FHA), the Florida Medical Association (FMA) and other provider affiliations will help provide a trusted roadmap and pathway for providers to confidently address their HIE needs, says Byington. HIE Networks is the only endorsed HIE vendor for FHA and FMA.
“The Florida Hospital Association supports local-provider-driven health information exchange based on national standards,” said FHA President Bruce Rueben. “Hospitals, physicians and other healthcare providers collaborating to leverage health information exchange improve the coordination and quality of care for patients. FHA is pleased to collaborate with HIE Networks and the Florida Medical Association in the expansion of patient-focused health information exchange.”
“The FMA conducted an exhaustive search among dozens of international, national, regional and local health information exchange vendors with the primary intent to identify and qualify a health information exchange solution that would preserve physician stewardship of sensitive personal health information for the benefit of our patients,” said Dr. Chris Pittman, chairman of FMA’s Health Information Technology Committee. “The FMA identified several excellent vendor finalists; however, HIE Networks prevailed for several reasons: HIE Networks enjoys a multi-year track record as a proven and sustainable community-wide health information exchange model, has demonstrable and deployed solutions that meet physician and patient needs at the point of facilitating high-quality care, an ability to transmit electronic patient information at low cost to both physicians and patients and they are committed to local, provider-driven HIE that promises to preserve the time-honored physician-patient relationship.”
Byington stressed that security and privacy issues are paramount with FHDN.
“Robust HIE actually improves patient privacy by reducing unauthorized access to patient data,” said Byington. “With HIE, we can prevent records from being faxed to the wrong locations and know exactly when and who accessed a patient record.
“The key is that we’re not a monolithic statewide HIE organization, but a unifier, integrator and consolidator of local providers and HIE organizations,” added Byington. “We connect any provider or organization and build uniformity, consistency and accessibility as needed to share information across communities, regions and, ultimately, states. We’ve also added Direct-enabled, secure messaging to FHDN; however, unlike other Direct messaging platforms, FHDN-facilitated messages can be automatically integrated as a part of the patient HIE clinical record rather than as a stand-alone, non-relational communication.” Direct is a national, secure-messaging platform used by some physicians and other medical providers. “With this capability, a single provider login is all that’s needed to access patient clinical records and send secure communications to those not yet participating in an HIE.”
HIE Networks’ FHDN currently has records for nearly one million unique Florida patients representing about 5 percent of Florida’s population. In addition, FHDN already processes more than 32 million messages and responds to more than 800,000 user queries. Current community commitments are expected to increase FHDN’s records to about 12 percent of the state’s population by second quarter 2012. “We expect that percentage to grow exponentially over the next year and beyond,” said Byington.
Nationally, the concept of an interconnected, private and secure electronic medical record (EMR) system is getting more attention, thanks in part to the 2009 American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA, also known as the stimulus bill) which set aside more than $20 billion for incentives to health care providers to deploy and use such systems. During the past year, many more providers have come on board the EMR train, says Byington, and many more are finally starting to see the benefits of HIE.
HIE Networks’ strategic partnership with Über Operations – also a Tallahassee-based company – will address the large-scale integration requirements needed to program EMR interfaces of providers statewide and beyond. “Über Operations’ existing work with the Florida Department of Health and healthcare organizations throughout the nation position the FHDN to streamline the on-boarding and interfacing process for providers and trading partners,” said Byington.
“For the past seven years, we have focused on providing expert and innovative data integration services to both public and private healthcare organizations throughout the nation,” said Eduardo Gonzalez Loumiet, Managing Director of Über Operations. “With this new network, we will be in a position to implement state-of-the-art technology to connect local providers, ultimately improving the health care of millions.”
HIE Networks grew out of the Big Bend Regional Healthcare Information Organization, which was profiled in a recent report on leading HIEs by the National eHealth Collaborative (NeHC). In response to news of the launch of FHDN, Kate Berry, CEO of NeHC, said, “Today’s announcement is an impressive example of continued innovation in HIE with a relentless focus on what’s best for the patient. The Big Bend team and its broader HIE Networks company are leveraging technology to bring low cost solutions to the market that will benefit patients by improving safety, quality, care coordination, and achieving cost savings.” To view the NeHC report, go to www.nationalehealth.org/secrets-hie-success-lessons-leaders.
For more information about the Florida Health Data Network and HIE Networks, go towww.HIEnetworks.com, call (850) 702-0365 or email zach@HIEnetworks.com. For more information about Big Bend RHIO, go to www.BigBendHealth.com.
About HIE Networks, LLC
HIE Networks is a leading provider of local health information exchange (HIE) services, with secure, standards-based exchanges that create and operate efficient, effective and sustainable health information networks at the local and regional levels. By acting as a region’s single reference point for patient records, HIE Networks allows hospitals, physicians and medical practices, laboratories, pharmacies and insurers to collaborate and streamline patient care, thereby improving the safety, outcomes, privacy and efficiency of healthcare services in their local communities. The HIE Networks service mix includes practice consultation, social architecture, legal structure, hardware support, software implementation, networking, integration, training and support.
About Big Bend RHIO
Big Bend RHIO is a federally-recognized 501(c)(3) not-for-profit that has deployed BigBendHealth.com, a first-of-its-kind health resource that brings with it economic benefits, a connected workforce, improved medical care and a breakthrough in exchange of clinical records. It serves as an essential communication resource for health care in the Capital region, with many resources offered in one place. BigBendHealth.com is the largest active regional HIE in Florida with millions of records for over 500,000 unique patients in the system and processing over 600,000 new clinical messages a month. BigBendHealth.com initiatives involve every major component of North Florida’s local healthcare system from physicians’ offices to HMOs to hospitals, laboratories and pharmacies. BigBendHealth.com is a partner in the delivery of safer, more cost-effective healthcare, placing its community at the head of the line for federal and state research dollars and making Tallahassee a model for other communities seeking to control the cost and improve the quality of local healthcare. BigBendHealth.com is anchored in Tallahassee, Fla., and serves nine counties in the Big Bend area of the Florida Panhandle, including Gadsden, Franklin, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Wakulla, Taylor and Dixie counties.
About Über Operations
Founded in 2004 in Tallahassee, Fla., Über Operations is a leading provider of health care IT services. They have provided integration services for well-known organizations, including the Florida Department of Health, Texas Department of State Health Services, Mercy Hospital of Miami, National Cancer Institute, Trinity Health, Association of Public Health Laboratories, and the University of Washington. Über Operations’ team members are experts in various technologies, such as Rhapsody, Cloverleaf, Mirth, PHINMS, Direct, and NwHIN CONNECT, to name a few. Über Operations is nationally recognized by the Association of Public Health Labs (APHL) and the CDC as their choice to architect, develop, host, and support the PHLIP RnR health information exchange hub. Über Operations was named “Health Innovators” by Florida Trend Magazine in 2011. For more information on Über Operations please visit www.UberOps.com