Healthcare Access San Antonio (HASA) and Central Texas’ Integrated Care Collaborative (ICC) have become the first Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) in Texas to receive full accreditation from the Texas Health Information Exchange Accreditation Program, and the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC). HASA and ICC are the state designated HIEs for their respective regions.
The state accreditation is provided by the Texas Health Services Authority (THSA) in partnership with EHNAC, a voluntary, self-governing standards development organization. The program offers accreditation to HIEs operating in Texas that demonstrate they are doing so under accepted and uniform standards in the handling of protected health information (PHI). The program criteria were developed jointly between THSA’s Collaboration Council and EHNAC, and included a public comment period that concluded in July.
Final accreditation criteria include assessments of the HIEs’ technical performance, business processes, resource management and other relevant information to ensure they are interoperable with state and federal programs, and provide the private and secure exchange of health information in accordance with established laws and public policy.
To gain accreditation, an HIE must undergo a rigorous review that includes more than 180 specific criterion, including assessment of:
- the data flow of PHI;
- the adequacy of operational policies and procedures to ensure the integrity, confidentiality and protection of PHI;
- the adequacy of physical, human and administrative resources to maintain a high level of performance and business practices;
- compliance with the HIPAA Security Rule and state health information security statutes and rules;
- patient consent and authorization protections; and
- assurance that information is being accessed by an authorized user for health care purposes.
The accreditation reflects the HIEs achievement of the highest standards of ensuring security and privacy in the exchange of health information.
Gijs van Oort, executive director for HASA, said, “HASA opted to be among the first in the nation to apply for accreditation because total adoption of any health information exchange can happen only when patients are confident that their health data is uncompromisingly secure.”
“Achieving this accreditation through EHNAC is an important step in our goal to serve Texans as a recognized and trusted HIE solution and demonstrate our dedication to providing private, secure, and reliable HIE services to our region.” said Tony Nelson, Information Security Officer for the ICC.
“Through this program, public and private HIE organizations operating in Texas will be recognized for meeting and maintaining accepted and uniform standards in the handling of protected health information,” said Tony Gilman, CEO of THSA. “The program will not only increase confidence and trust in the exchange of health information, but also foster greater participation in HIEs and support sustainability of HIE efforts in Texas and across the United States.”