HIETexas is a secure network of local and private health information exchanges (HIEs) that enables health care providers to electronically exchange patients’ health information across Texas and the nation. In an effort to support Texas HIEs, THSA issued a national request for information (RFI) in May to identify interface development services that are available to meet the needs of the THSA, Texas HIEs and those who are connected or wish to connect to an HIE. The purpose of an interface development system is to integrate electronic health record (EHR) systems and healthcare information systems that may be operated by several different vendors, thereby enabling interoperability and seamless exchange of health information.

Attempting to reach as wide a range of responses as possible, THSA preceded the RFI with a request for stakeholder comment to help shape the issue. Tony Gilman, chief executive officer of THSA, noted: “THSA received 21 comments from five sources, whose input helped clarify the standards at issue and the type of transport methods that might be needed.”

Ultimately, THSA aims to pave the way so that systems utilized by all users of EHRs in Texas can connect and communicate effectively and with some cost efficiency. “The mission of the THSA includes supporting the improvement and availability of HIE and health information technology (HIT) throughout the state,” said Gilman. “Many HIEs and users of HIT experience barriers, including cost and the availability of interfaces that will allow for the smooth connection and communication of HIEs, EHRs and other HIT systems, especially those created by different vendors. This effort is the beginning of a longer-term initiative by THSA to eliminate challenges to HIE and HIT access in Texas.”

Responses to the RFI just arrived in mid-June, and THSA is pleased with the level of participation received. An assessment and compilation of the information is scheduled to be released in the summer.

Database of Interface Development Services to Help Address Interoperability Barriers Among Texas’ HIE Stakeholders