HIETexas Expands Connectivity, Supporting Interoperability and Exchange of Health Information with New Data Sources

Interoperability is growing with healthcare organizations inside and outside of Texas

Texas is one of 93 participants of the eHealth Exchange, a national gateway for secure, trusted and interoperable health information exchange (HIE) managed by Healtheway. Through this partnership, HIETexas is expanding the number of data sources with which authorized Texas providers will be able to securely exchange health data. The eHealth Exchange currently connects 30 percent of U.S. hospitals, 10,000 medical groups, and one hundred million patients, and is a completely federated network.

The following connections with HIETexas are currently under way:

Inside of Texas

Healthcare Access San Antonio (HASA), the local HIE that serves the San Antonio area, has made progress in connecting to HIETexas. HIETexas, a secure network of local and private HIEs, offers local HIEs a set of state-level shared services that enables health care providers to electronically exchange patients’ health information across Texas and the nation through the eHealth Exchange. HASA has made the strategic technical decision to join HIETexas as a purely federated local HIE. This will allow the final connection testing to proceed.

State-to-state connections

Did you know that it is more convenient for some Kansans to seek health care providers in the Panhandle of Texas than in Kansas, Oklahoma or Colorado? For this reason, the Kansas Health Information Network (KHIN) sought connectivity with Texas and can now currently request patient health information from HIETexas and its current participants – Greater Houston Healthconnect and the Austin-based HIE, Integrated Care Collaboration. KHIN is a not-for-profit organization with more than 900 member organizations representing Kansas hospitals, clinics, federally qualified health centers, community mental health centers, substance abuse treatment centers and others. Cross-state connection helps to ensure that when individuals travel across state lines, which they do for convenience or medical care preferences, their medical records are accessible in the event of an emergency or routine care. At this time, KHIN is able to query HIETexas, and in the near future, HIETexas should be able to query KHIN. This will allow sharing of information both to and from Kansas providers.

Additionally, HIETexas is in production with Coordinated Care Oklahoma (CCOK), a regional HIE in Oklahoma. This is the second connection with a bordering state, having connected to Presbyterian Healthcare Services, the largest integrated delivery network in New Mexico, in 2014. With Oklahoma’s proximity to Dallas and Fort Worth, which serve as hubs for health care services, connectivity currently allows providers in the greater Oklahoma City area to query patient records in Texas. In the future, providers in Texas will be able to query patient records in Oklahoma City.

In other state-to-state connections, HIETexas is starting testing with the North Dakota Health Information Network (NDHIN). NDHIN is the process of connecting the 740,000 residents of the state, with 6 hospital networks, and 36 critical access hospitals, along with their associated providers.

National and specialty connections

Weill Cornell Medical College, with 446 physician practices, 2,615 clinicians, 6,141 end users, and 1,020,000 patients, is seeking bidirectional exchange with HIETexas for treating their “snowbird” traveling going back and forth, seasonally, between Texas and New York. HIETexas has completed testing with Weill Cornell and is in the process of beginning production operations for one-way exchange.

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA), a component of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and an eHealth Exchange participant, is working to establish connectivity with HIETexas. To solve connectivity challenges, HIETexas has reconfigured its gateway. The VHA is in the process of making adjustments to their system so testing can commence with a new configuration.

HIETexas and the Mayo Clinic, a leading, nonprofit medical practice and medical research group based in Rochester, Minn., have begun connectivity testing. Having completed exercises in the test environment, next up is testing in the production environment.

In other national connections, HIETexas is currently live in production with OCHIN, a non-profit health information network spanning 18 states, including Texas, with over 4,500 physicians. Their focus is on safety net clinics, and small practices, as well as critical access and rural hospitals. The connection between HIETexas is currently limited to retrieving requests from local HIEs in Texas.

In review of this recent progress, Tony Gilman, CEO, of the Texas Health Services Authority, reflected: “Texas, through the development of local HIE networks and HIETexas, continues to be a leader in expanding interoperability and growing connectivity. These new connections outside of Texas, along with our existing connections inside Texas, will increase the value for health care providers to participate HIE.”

HIETexas Expands Connectivity with New Data Sources