Making secure data exchange a priority: DTAAP accreditation

When it comes to data exchange, there’s no question that privacy and security should always be top of mind. Because of our focus on these two issues, we decided to pursue accreditation with the Direct Trusted Agent Accreditation Program (DTAAP).

This program, endorsed by the ONC, recognizes organizations that demonstrate excellence in health data processing and transactions. It also ensures that such organizations achieve compliance with industry standards, HIPAA regulations and the Direct Project.

After participating in a consultative review process, we are pleased to announce that we achieved DTAAP certification for Registration Authority (RA), Certificate Authority (CA) and Health Information Service Provider (HISP) from DirectTrust.org and the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC). Through this accreditation, we aim to instill in our customers a confidence in our ability to exchange data at the highest level of security and safety as we continue to help them meet interoperability goals.  Read more… 

Security, Scale, and Speed for Healthcare Big Data

Data security through encryption is a “given” when you’re talking about health information exchange (HIE). Every EHR and HIE vendor has built in encryption or they would be be non-compliant with HIPAA, Meaningful Use, and a slew of other standards.  But when you take the encryption conversation deeper to include scalability of the actual data set, the strength of data security begins to scale.

ICA, Intel®, and MarkLogic have worked together to develop a forward-thinking, enterprise-ready HIE architecture that offers the highest security while allowing quick and affordable scalability to handle millions of patient records.  Using Intel AES-NI and MarkLogic’s enterprise NoSQL database, ICA offers clients a solid, secure infrastructure for data exchange. ICA’s CareAlign® platform technology is so progressive that Intel has released a case study detailing its development.  Click here to read our case study

ICA Selects Health Language to Strengthen Analytics and Reporting across Patient Populations

Wolters Kluwer Health, a leading global provider of information for healthcare professionals and students, announced that ICA has selected Health Language® to support its health information exchange (HIE) platform. Health Language medical terminology management software and services will enable ICA to create longitudinal patient records and enhance reporting and analytics across entire populations.

 ICA’s interoperability platform connects providers across the continuum of care through a series of modules that support clinical communications and information exchange. ICA is preparing to launch an informatics module, CareAlign Insight, which houses a central data repository. Health Language helps support this initiative by providing a dual-engine that, in collaboration with Clinithink, transforms both free text and disparate data into standardized terminologies.

Jeff Cunningham, chief technology officer at ICA, said, “We are pleased to partner with Health Language as we prepare to launch CareAlign Insight because the engines will work together to allow providers to leverage data mined in the repository for better patient outcomes. In today’s transforming healthcare environment, this enables us to capture information being shared and use it in real time in order to make a difference in the overall delivery of care by monitoring individual patients and assessing trends across communities.”

ICA selected Health Language for its turnkey terminology management solution, professional services and customized mappings. By integrating Health Language software with its platform, ICA will enable its provider customers to:

  • De-duplicate data from disparate sources by automatically mapping it to standardized terminologies;
  • Leverage comprehensive, longitudinal patient records for enhancing patient care;
  • Receive immediate alerts of unusual activity around both individual patients and patient populations; and
  • Achieve population health management goals through robust analytics and reporting across communities.

“As population health becomes a primary goal for more hospitals and health systems, it is essential that they get the most value out of their patient data,” said Brian McDonald, Executive Vice President, Health Language, Wolters Kluwer Health, Clinical Solutions. “By automatically normalizing all the information, ICA will be able to help providers become less dependent on their patients for information as they set the foundation for long-term analysis of patient populations.”

The dual-engine, developed in 2012, is a culmination of the Health Language advanced Language Engine which normalizes disparate data through automated mapping and Clinithink’s CLiX engine which translates narrative text into standardized codes.

About Health Language

Health Language® provides leading healthcare terminology management solutions and professional services that normalize all data within a healthcare organization into standardized code sets such as ICD-10, SNOMED CT® and LOINC®. By establishing a data infrastructure in which disparate information is fully integrated, the advanced Language Engine (LE) and supporting tools enable healthcare providers and payers worldwide to simplify the management and analysis of critical patient, financial and operational information. This, backed by a team of HIM experts that support the integration process, helps hospitals, health systems and other healthcare organizations to overcome industry challenges such as Meaningful Use, ICD-10 and health information exchange.

Health Language is part of Wolters Kluwer Health, a leading global provider of information, business intelligence and point-of-care solutions for the healthcare industry. Wolters Kluwer Health is part of Wolters Kluwer, a market-leading global information services company with 2011 annual revenues of €3.4 billion ($4.7 billion).

About Clinithink

Founded in 2009, with operations in the US and UK, Clinithink is the healthcare industry’s preferred clinical natural language processing (CNLP) provider.  Clinithink’s CLiX technology enables healthcare providers and solution vendors to extract knowledge from the clinical data trapped in the free text of discharge summaries, clinical notes, and other documents. Using patent-pending algorithms and CNLP to add structure to unstructured clinical data, Clinithink’s CLiX technology enables the indexing, mapping and analyzing of clinical narrative to output rich structured data encoded to medical ontologies such as SNOMED CT, ICD-9, ICD-10 and RxNorm.  For more information, visit www.clinithink.com or email us at sales@clinithink.com.

ICA Announces Strategic Partnerships with Futrix Health and Healthcare Anytime To Enhance Clinical Analytics and Patient Engagement Capabilities

ICA has announced strategic partnerships with Futrix Health and Healthcare Anytime to strengthen analytics and patient engagement capabilities. Futrix Health brings improved payer, ACO and provider measurement, analysis and data benchmarking proficiencies; and Healthcare Anytime’s offering brings improved patient engagement applications.

Trend and actuarial analysis, as well as data analytics and clinical decision support, have been key tools for the payer market for decades. A significant obstacle to more pervasive use of these powerful tools is the chronic need for human intervention to manipulate data, extensive programmatic integration with each source systems, and the need to manually input clinical data.  Futrix Health’s powerful analytics tools coupled with ICA’s CareAlign® Interoperability and Informatics platform will address these weaknesses and enable at-risk organizations to access the full power of these applications more efficiently.

HealthCare Anytime’s approach to patient engagement combined with the advanced clinical data availability from ICA’s CareAlign Interoperability engine will provide a mechanism to capture and distribute data from and to multiple care settings and multiple systems into HealthCare Anytime’s portal to allow patient viewing.  In turn, HealthCare Anytime’s patient portal will provide an added tool for ICA’s current client base enabling them to offer patients a way to see their clinical information and participate more completely in their own healthcare. Both solutions will facilitate secure communication between patient and provider through the use of Direct messaging across a wider set of applications through the healthcare system.

Futrix Health helps payers, ACOs and providers link multiple data sources, including eligibility, claims, clinical data, demographics, capitation and fee-for-service payment schedules into a single analytical stream. Flexible, “drill-anywhere” self-service business intelligence is coupled with a truly unique analytic engine enabling health professionals to securely and flexibly explore data. Create any kind of measure or grouping from any data source(s) and then freely analyze across all the data sources. With real-time clinical data fed by ICA’s CareAlign Exchange and Insight infrastructure, Futrix Health’s powerful analytic capabilities can empower healthcare organizations with unprecedented insights and performance improvements. Futrix Health’s capabilities include:

  • Linked measures to access and merge disparate data to create meaningful healthcare measures
  • Cohort analysis groups to allow member segmentation and analysis of clinical groups
  • Dynamic group dimensions to categorize information into non-traditional sub-groupings
  • Dynamic benchmarks to compare control data such as geography, providers, time period, population and industry
  • Privacy drill control to ensure privacy protection, data protection and HIPAA compliance

HealthCare Anytime offers a robust enterprise patient portal for hospitals and clinics to achieve meaningful patient engagement, including for purposes of Meaningful Use Stage 2. Its SaaS-based model enables patients to participate in their own care online, creating a safe, secure virtual office for healthcare organizations. Its cloud-based applications include Patient Health Record (PHR), providing patients the ability to view, download and transmit their health information to third parties; Secure Messaging, a HIPAA compliant email-like messages for patients and staff to exchange information;  Pre-Registration Solution, to streamline the process by  having patients register online before arrival; Online Appointment Requests, to build operational efficiencies around patient scheduling; Self-Pay Collection Suite, to enable patients to pay online improving revenue cycle; and Online Prescription Renewal Request, to initiate fast and efficient renewals.

ICA’s CareAlign solution includes CareAlign Exchange, a comprehensive interoperability platform that facilitates the seamless and secure exchange of healthcare data across a widening continuum of healthcare settings, and provides a strong and flexible foundation for broad clinical information exchange. CareAlign Collaborate is a clinical portal that aggregates health information from multiple settings and provides a complete longitudinal, patient-centric view of a patient’s clinical history to healthcare providers regardless of the technology in place. CareAlign Insight is a clinical analytics platform that extracts, normalizes, monitors and deposits data into a repository during the health information exchange process and can be accessed via a CareAlign portal or third party applications for dashboard creation, bio-surveillance, ad-hoc queries and patient portal applications. CareAlign Direct is a SaaS-based clinical communications solution using the Direct Protocol that enables the secure transport of clinical communication across the continuum of care regardless of EHR technology in place and is embedded within our CareAlign Exchange platform as a first step toward a full interoperability and analytics solution. CareAlign Connect, a secure clinical communication portal which augments ICA’s CareAlign Direct messaging solution, enables clinicians with or without EHRs the ability to communicate to improve care coordination, delegate workload and improve workflow.

About Futrix Health

Futrix Health evolved from the Futrix self-service business intelligence solution into a powerful healthcare analytic solution by leveraging the unique Futrix underlying architecture to empower healthcare professional to bring together disparate data sources into a single analytic stream. Flexible, drill-anywhere self-service business intelligence is coupled with an analytic engine that allows all users to create virtually any kind of measure, grouping, or viewpoint and then freely analyze across all relevant data sources. The result is that payers, ACOs, and providers can get rapid insights and derive impactful results to the meet the dynamic needs of healthcare organizations. Please visit us at www.futrix.com.

About HealthCare Anytime

HealthCare Anytime provides robust enterprise patient portal solutions that help healthcare organizations improve patient engagement, operate more efficiently, and get paid faster, . Our solutions are offered in a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model, which means that we handle hosting, implementation, training, and ongoing support. Our portal applications were all written in JAVA, and are hosted in a secure, highly reliable cloud-based environment.

CIHIE Participant, OSF HealthCare System, Goes Operational With ICA’s CareAlign Exchange Platform

Central Illinois Health Information Exchange’s (CIHIE) largest integrated delivery network (IDN) participant, OSF HealthCare System (OSF), has gone operational  with  a cross community access (XCA) connection to the OSF electronic medical record system (EMR), Epic. The XCA technology allows for the sharing and exchange of clinical information throughout the seven Illinois OSF hospitals and with other CIHIE participants. Based in Peoria, OSF HealthCare is one of the largest healthcare providers and IDNs in the state of Illinois. Its physician network includes more than 600 primary care and specialty physicians, and advanced practice providers. OSF HealthCare is a multi-state organization, operating in Illinois and Michigan, and provides care to more than 3.7 million people.

 XCA is a standards-based protocol established by Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) that enables groups of providers—such as OSF HealthCare System and CIHIE—to share patient data by using a common, community-wide set of policies and information technologies. By leveraging the XCA protocol, CIHIE’s allcharts™ software and OSF’s Epic EMR are able to share data in real-time while still allowing each organization to appropriately control access to the data it is responsible for managing on behalf of both patients and their physicians.

“With this important milestone, we have successfully shifted our OSF-CIHIE connectivity from test into production,” said Joy Duling, Executive Director of CIHIE. “This achievement is CIHIE’s first XCA connection. It represents not only leading edge technology, but bleeding edge technology. Achieving full operation of the Epic XCA within OSF HealthCare System adds another dimension to clinical communications for our HIE.  Current participants are using Direct, XDS.b and traditional HL7.  By turning on this switch, we will further enable our providers to improve care through improved information exchange and communication. This accomplishment is proof positive that CIHIE and ICA will go to great lengths to meet the technological needs and aspirations of the organizations in our region. This significant success would not be possible without the hard work and steadfast commitment from ICA, Epic, OSF and CIHIE.”OSF HealthCare | Home

“The direction CIHIE chose to go with XCA connectivity in the region aligns with the vision and direction of OSF,” said Randy Wolfe, OSF Director of Data Management and Support Services. “The cross communication and sharing of data within the greater community will give OSF providers the latest technology and the ability to offer better patient care and safety for the many residents we serve in central Illinois.  By using a standards-based protocol, this integration approach is consistent with the overall national health information exchange strategy.”

About OSF HealthCare (www.osfhealthcare.org)

OSF HealthCare, owned and operated by The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, Peoria, Illinois, includes OSF Healthcare System consisting of eight acute care facilities, one long-term care facility and two colleges of nursing. It also has a physician organization, employing more than 600 physicians in various specialties and nearly 50 mid-level providers which are part of the OSF Medical Group.  OSF HealthCare owns an extensive network of home health services known as OSF Home Care Services and also owns OSF Saint Francis, Inc., comprised of health care-related businesses, and OSF HealthCare Foundation, the philanthropic arm of OSF HealthCare System and OSF Home Care.  Additionally there are three service lines focusing on children’s, cardiovascular and neuroscience services.

About Central Illinois Health Information Exchange (CIHIE)

The CIHIE service area currently covers a population of approximately 1.3 million people and includes 27 hospitals, 20 health departments, 2,800 physicians, 280 pharmacies, 12 labs and imaging centers and numerous ancillary healthcare providers such as rehabilitation centers, behavioral healthcare, long-term care facilities and nursing homes. Member organizations include: Advocate BroMenn Medical Center, Normal; Community Health Improvement Center, Decatur; Decatur Memorial Hospital; Dr. John Warner Hospital, Clinton; Easter Seals – Peoria, Bloomington-Normal & Decatur; Heartland Behavioral Health, Decatur; Heartland Community Health Clinic, Peoria; Human Service Center, Peoria; Illinois Gastroenterology Institute, Peoria; Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Peoria; Macon County Health Department, Decatur; Methodist Medical Center of Illinois, Peoria; OSF Healthcare System; Proctor Hospital, Peoria; St. Mary’s Hospital, Decatur; St. Mary’s Hospital, Streator; and the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria. Members can access the exchange through the allcharts™ software. This local network will ultimately be able to connect with other regional and national exchanges, supporting extensive information portability for patients.  For information: cihie.org. Follow CIHIE on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google +, or Twitter.

DHIN Selects Allied-Direct™ for Direct Messaging in Delaware

Delaware Health Information Network (DHIN), the nation’s first  and most mature statewide health information exchange (HIE), has chosen AlliedHIE Company and its direct email system, Allied-Direct™, to provide Direct messaging for DHIN’s enrolled practices. The messaging and interoperability technology for this system will be provided by ICA’s CareAlign® Direct Messaging and Exchange solutions.

AlliedHIE Company is a certified Health Information Services Provider (HISP) in Pennsylvania and for the new federal healthcare email system.  Now in Delaware, Allied-Direct’s live HISP environment will enable existing users to immediately begin using Allied-Direct and the new federal healthcare email system, known as the Direct Project.  In addition to existing users, hospitals and physicians, Allied-Direct and DHIN will begin a new series of outreach, marketing and meetings to all healthcare professionals including pharmacies, labs, long-term care, specialists and behavioral health professionals in early 2013.

“We are very pleased to announce our new relationship with AlliedHIE Company and its Allied-Direct email and HISP services in Delaware, “said Jan Lee, MD, executive director of DHIN.  “We are confident the relationship between AlliedHIE and DHIN will energize a new growth in affordable interoperability and information exchange by and between Delaware healthcare professionals. Delaware remains committed to helping advance national interoperability and the new federal healthcare email system, the Direct Project.  It’s an important next step.”

“AlliedHIE is excited to work together with DHIN and help build upon the outstanding success and relationships DHIN has developed since its inception,” said Kelly Lewis, President of AlliedHIE.  “Allied-Direct is an affordable encrypted, mobile-ready email system for all healthcare providers in Delaware and their connections in other states. In addition to secure Direct communications, our live HISP provides national interoperability with the federal healthcare email system.  Plus, ICA’s CareAlign technology is easy-to-use and intuitive and is completely HIPAA compliant.”

“Congratulations to DHIN and its new relationship with Allied-Direct,” said Gary Zegiestowsky, President and CEO of ICA.  “ICA is thrilled to partner with AlliedHIE to help grow the national healthcare email system in Delaware as DHIN continues to solidify its position as a national leader in health information exchange. Available for all healthcare providers, especially providers caring for the most vulnerable and at-risk patients, Allied-Direct gets critical patient information to caregivers quickly, securely and affordably so the best treatment options can be determined and administered.”

Allied-Direct is patient-centric, secure, HIPAA-compliant, bi-directional clinical messaging.  A provider of core technology for meeting Stage 1 and Stage 2 Meaningful Use attestation requirements for Medicare incentive payments, Allied-Direct is HISP-certified, nationally-interoperable and built on the same HIE platform that delivers health information exchange services for AlliedHIE Company. Allied-DIRECT is powered by ICA, one of the nation’s top ranked HIE providers, according to a November 2012 KLAS report.

The Direct Project, the new federal healthcare email system, is still in its infancy. HISPs and Direct provide a simple, affordable, HIPAA-compliant method to encourage electronic exchange of health information among healthcare providers, particularly those providers that do not have the resources or technical capacity to engage in more comprehensive health information exchange.

DHIN, The Delaware Health Information Network, is the first live, statewide health information network in the nation.  Launched in 2007, today it serves all of Delaware’s acute care hospitals and 97% of the State’s medical providers. More than 9,000,000 clinical results and reports are posted on DHIN each year. Total patient records in the system now exceed 1.5 million including patients from all 50 states.

The AlliedHIE Company is a patient-centric, purpose-driven, point-of-care focused national health information exchange company with a mission to include and serve allied health organizations in order to connect our most vulnerable and at-risk patients. To lead America’s Health Information Exchange we are partnering with the nation’s premier Health IT firms, including ICA, www.icainformatics.com to deliver best in class Health IT services, critical security and aggregation services, and superior client support. Allied-Direct’s national commercial strategy to be the market-leading, best-in-class, HIPAA-compliant and fastest-growing Direct Email and HISP in the Federal Healthcare Email System. (www.alliedhie.com)

Hutchinson Clinic and KHIN Share CCDs through CareAlign® Exchange Platform

XDS.b facilitates the flow of critical patient information successfully and securely throughout the network

Hutchinson Clinic, a large integrated delivery network (IDN) in the KHIN network, is now actively exchanging continuity of care documents (CCD) via XDS.b, an IHE-based integration protocol. Exchanging CCDs is a significant step in moving critical patient information throughout the HIE.  XDS.b moves discrete data faster and more securely than other standards, ensuring that clinicians will be able to access patient data when and where they need it.

Hutchinson Clinic, using Allscripts as its electronic health record (EHR) vendor, has successfully exchanged CCD documents into the KHIN HIE. Hutchinson Clinic has more than 70 physicians providing care in 16 locations across 11 different cities and covers more than 10,000 square miles in central Kansas.  Cross-Enterprise Document Sharing (XDS.b) is a Microsoft Connected Health Platform Solution Accelerator based on the IHE XDS.b integration profile. XDS.b facilitates the registration, distribution and access across health enterprises of patient electronic information in document format.

“Exchanging CCDs via XDS.b is another major milestone for the KHIN health information exchange,” said Laura McCrary Ed.D, Executive Director of KHIN. “The exchange of summary of care records (CCDs) between providers that are caring for the same patient can significantly improve patient care.   XDS.b provides a technical framework that allows healthcare providers with different electronic medical record (EMR) systems to share health data within specific guidelines; enabling Kansas providers to establish a connected, collaborative, cost-effective and dependable heath system.  This landmark achievement is another step toward reducing costs anHutch Clinicd improving healthcare for the people of Kansas and we could not have accomplished this without the support and leadership from the Hutchinson Clinic.”

“Utilizing XDS.b to exchange patient data will prove to be a turning point in KHIN’s ability to improve patient outcomes. XDS.b’s ability to execute the transfer of large amounts of clinical data rapidly, accurately and securely has the potential to bring the clinicians and patients of this sizable region and network together in a way not previously seen,” said Gary Zegiestowsky, chief executive officer of ICA. “This standard will also allow us to connect to a large number of clinics at an accelerated pace by leveraging IHE standards and our state-of-the-art platform. XDS.b coupled with KHIN’s use of the CareAlign Direct messaging solution is already increasing efficiencies and improving care.”

About The Kansas Health Information Network (KHIN)

KHIN’s mission is to improve health care quality, coordination and efficiency through the exchange of health information at the point of care utilizing a secure electronic network provided by a collaboration of health care organizations.   KHIN is a provider led 501(c)3.  It draws users from a broad geographical area and aligns with state data sources to support cost effective delivery of services. It supports and integrates with community and medical trading area efforts to drive care coordination and workflow changes creating a climate to encourage innovation. Its goals are to ensure providers, patients and communities have long-term access to cost effective, sustainable health information exchange aligned with costs distributed across a broad user base. It also encourages and removes barriers so communities and regions can focus on quality improvement, patient centered medical home and entrepreneurial strategies that effect local health outcomes.

ICA Helps The University of Texas at Austin Launch HIE Lab

ICA Promotes Health IT Education and Training in the University’s Laboratory

The health technology interoperability laboratory at The University of Texas at Austin is now up and running. The laboratory, funded by a grant from the Longhorn Innovation Fund for Technology from the university, is the latest addition to the Health IT Certificate program at the university, which was launched in January 2010 in collaboration with the Texas e-Health Alliance, the Texas Medical Association and members of the health IT industry.

ICA’s CareAlign®Exchange solution suite will be integrated with the HIE lab, providing an interoperability and informatics platform that allows clinical health information systems to connect and communicate. The HIE laboratory will offer a necessary proving ground for the further development of health information exchange within the state of Texas and gives students a comprehensive view of health information technology by engaging with hospitals, payers, labs, public health professionals, physicians and pharmacies.

The laboratory provides a unique opportunity for students to get hands-on experience transferring simulated medical data between “virtual” medical practices. For example, students in the laboratory log on to the EHR systems as if they were in one of four Texas cities: Austin, Houston, Dallas, and Amarillo. They register test patients, record patient consent and enter fictitious medical data, which are then published to the HIEs using industry-standard Continuity of Care Documents (CCDs). These CCDs are stored in the HIEs and transferred between the virtual practices to simulate what is happening in real life throughout the state and the nation. The university intends to further develop the capabilities of this “living” laboratory with HIE-to-HIE interoperability, a simulated public health immunization registry, simulated bidirectional lab orders and results, as well as a “virtual” hospital-based care setting, and other healthcare entities.

“The University of Texas at Austin has demonstrated national thought leadership in the area of HIT and HIE through the quality of students it is attracting and the development of an environment for testing provider-to-provider healthcare technology,” said John Tempesco, Chief Marketing Officer of ICA. “Further, the spirit of collaboration fostered by this program will help build the foundation for transforming healthcare through standards-based exchange powered by an advanced interoperability and informatics platform. This collaborative effort is in keeping with ICA’s core philosophy and mirrors the efforts of our open ICAetc testing center.”

In April 2010, the university received an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant awarded by the Office of the National Coordinator, Health Information Technology to the Professional University Resources and Education for Health Information Technology (PURE-HIT) Consortium , a collaboration between lead organization, Texas State University, The University of Texas at Austin and The University of Texas School of Biomedical Informatics. The consortium received $5.4 million, the largest award in the nation among the nine programs funded for university-based education in health IT. The HIT sector job growth is expected to outpace growth in other sectors through 2020.

About the PURE-HIT Consortium

The PURE-HIT consortium is led by Texas State University-San Marcos (Texas State) in collaboration with The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin), College of Natural Sciences and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), School of Biomedical Informatics (SBMI). These three institutions are training students in five of the six workforce roles designated by ONC. By summer 2013, Texas State and UT Austin will train 291 students in health IT, and UTHealth SBMI will prepare 29 new students.

Meridian Health in New Jersey Upgrades to CareAlign® Exchange

ICA’s CareAlign Exchange platform incorporates Direct messaging, CCD repositories and HISP-to-HISP communications among 95 locations, including six hospitals, along the Jersey Shore

Meridian Health has upgraded to CareAlign® Exchange to take advantage of a market leading platform that includes Direct messaging, a Continuity of Care Documents (CCD) repository, a patient identity manager and registry, health information services provider (HISP) capabilities and global opt-out for patients.

This new release expands upon the foundational interoperability already in place at Meridian, enabling the seamless and secure flow of patient records to benefit caregivers and patients in this Meridian-sponsored multi-county HIE. CareAlign Exchange will enable Meridian Health to integrate with the multiple electronic health records (EHR) already installed among the hospitals, clinics and physician practices that make up the integrated delivery network. Among the installed EHR systems currently participating in the exchange of information are Siemens (hospitals), and SigmaCare (LTC). System integration will be achieved with discrete data that flows into and out of these systems to the CareAlign Collaborate portal and into vendor EHRs at the point of care. This patient data will be visible in the workflow of the EHR.

“Upgrading to CareAlign Exchange not only facilitates the flow of patient data throughout the network, it increases our ability to add physician practices that want to join our exchange by allowing information transfer among physician practices, both owned and non-owned,” said Rebecca Weber, chief information officer of Meridian Health. “CareAlign Exchange also opens the door to Direct messaging and HISP-to-HISP communications, enabling physicians the ability to receive and return information from the HIE right into their electronic medical record.”

Meridian is also working toward integrating HIE data into its personal health record (PHR). The benefits of PHR access will allow patients to become more of a part of their own healthcare process with the ability to view their own charts, results and appointments

“CareAlign Exchange gives our clients access to Direct messaging and contains many other robust features that support the exchange of health information in one of the most complete health networks on the east coast,” said Gary Zegiestowsky, chief executive officer, ICA.   “The breadth of our platform will help ensure that Meridian can continue, and improve upon, its mission of bringing providers and patients together through the best available technology, improving secure communications which enhances care coordination, and reducing costs throughout its clinical network.”

Zegiestowsky added, “Integration testing with Siemens and SigmaCare went smoothly using ICAetc, ICA’s free and open interoperability testing forum for software vendors with the goal of ensuring that multiple disparate systems are able to connect and communicate.”

Meridian Health is one of New Jersey’s most comprehensive not-for-profit healthcare providers offering a wide-range of healthcare services, including home care and hospice, skilled nursing and sub-acute care facilities, physician practices, rehabilitation and fitness centers, occupational health, home medical equipment and in-home safety technology, ambulance and medical transportation, as well as outpatient laboratory, imaging, and surgery centers. Meridian has six primary hospital locations: Jersey Shore University Medical Center and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune, Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin and Bayshore Community Hospital in Holmdel.

KHIN and ICA First to Share Data with CDC to Monitor Population Health

Kansas Health Information Network (KHIN) and ICA have begun sharing anonymous patient data with BioSense, a public health system that tracks hospital emergency department visits, enabling public health professionals to monitor a broad array of potential public health threats. The BioSense system is coordinated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and was recently re-designed to greatly improve the information provided by the system and to promote standardization and collaboration across states.

“KHIN provides de-identified health information from Kansas patients to BioSense in real time,” said Laura McCrary, Executive Director of KHIN. “This data allows public health partners to rapidly assess potential health threats in Kansas more quickly than in the past when it was necessary to rely on phone calls or fax. This exchange also helps Kansas providers meet a Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirement to electronically share syndromic surveillance data with public health agencies.”

KHIN aggregates health information from healthcare providers across the state of Kansas in an area that covers 85,000 square miles and includes a population of approximately three million.

“BioSense has a lot of potential to provide data in a more efficient manner as well as additional information we have not been able to attain previously,” said Charles Hunt, State Epidemiologist and Director of the Bureau of Epidemiology and Public Health Informatics at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. “The utilization of the HIE to submit data to BioSense in Kansas has brought us more quickly to the point where we can begin monitoring patient health in the aggregate to further improve outcomes in our state,” Hunt said. “Working in conjunction with the CDC will provide a timely and cohesive picture at the state level to detect and characterize public health problems early and coordinate appropriate responses.”

“KHIN put our CareAlign® solution to work quickly and effectively in the development of its statewide HIE,” said ICA Chief Executive Officer, Gary Zegiestowsky. “The enthusiastic uptake by numerous integrated delivery systems, hospitals and large clinics, and literally thousands of providers, enabled the CareAlign interoperability platform to perform one of its more advanced and complex functions: monitoring and managing the health of a large population. KHIN’s effort with CDC’s BioSense program will become a case study in how health technology can truly improve the health of large and broad populations from which the rest of the country can learn.”