New Gateway Technology Introduced

The eHealth Exchange, the largest nationwide health information network connecting public and private sectors formed a decade ago by ONC, has introduced their new gateway technology to simplify connectivity via a single connection to the nation.

With more than 75 percent of all hospitals in America and 61 regional and state HIEs participating in the eHealth Exchange, the evolution from point-to-point connections to a one gateway solution will increase connectivity for the country by saving millions of dollars in IT infrastructure.

The eHealth Exchange’s InterSystems platform is now integrated with the eHealth Exchange’s “Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources” (FHIR) healthcare directory as the basis for the hub model. The hub will make it easier for organizations to connect to each other using a “connect once” model capable of reaching another member of the network which will provide faster access to correct patient records at a lower implementation cost.

The eHealth Exchange network’s approach will help organizations prepare for pending regulatory changes, such as information blocking, the CMS interoperability rule, and will meet expectations in the ONC’s pending “Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement” (TEFCA).

HIEs provide critical national infrastructure as emphasized at the 5th annual “Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative” (SHIEC) National Conference held at National Harbor, Maryland August 19-21, 2019. Today, 92% of the U.S population is served by HIEs members of SHIEC which now includes 135 organizations including 76 HIE  and 59 strategic business and technology members, selling products and services to HIEs, according to survey results released by SHIEC.

Seema Verma, Administrator for CMS delivered the keynote address at the SHIEC National Conference. She said, “The sharing of data and having interoperability between health systems underpins the entire move to value in healthcare and innovation. It impacts every patient and provider and ultimately every interaction that people have with the healthcare system on all levels.”

She reports, “There is still much work to be done to improve data exchange and access to information. HIEs play an important role in a more connected, secure healthcare system that prioritizes the needs of patients. There are many opportunities for HIEs to work with providers and technology vendors to align business models with a changing future.”

The Administrator’s hope is to see more HIEs link social determinants of health to patient records so doctors will have a more holistic understanding of their patients’ health. It is important to connect data between community service providers in order to deal with issues like food insecurity and homelessness to help us do a better job delivering care.

She wants to see more opportunities for patients to give researchers access to data housed in HIEs so health information from a diverse set of people can be used to develop innovative personalized treatment. In addition, she hopes to see all of the HIEs united by universal standards.

Kelley Thompson, CEO SHIEC, just reported that the Sequoia Project has been awarded a cooperative agreement to serve as the “Recognized Coordinating Entity” (RCE) by the Office of the National Coordinator for HIT. She said, “SHIEC welcomes and supports the ONC announcement as this is a key step forward in building national interoperability which is especially important in hurricane season when large populations could be displaced and separated from their home patient records.”

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