Paso del Norte Health Information Exchange (PDN HIE), a nonprofit corporation formed to benefit and promote the health of the residents of El Paso County and surrounding communities, is one of the eight community-based HIE networks affiliated with HIETexas. Over the past several months, PDN HIE has made significant advances toward achieving its mission of improving the quality, safety and efficiency of health care services in the Paso del Norte region through privacy protected exchange of health information.
In May, the local HIE announced that The Hospitals of Providence, a leading health network in El Paso with three hospitals and more than 900 physicians, became the first organization to contribute data to PDN HIE’s health information system. By sharing data through an HIE, health care providers can enhance patient safety by reducing the potential for medical errors due to a lack of information about allergies, existing medications and health conditions.
Sally Hurt Deitch, market chief executive officer of The Hospitals of Providence and PDN HIE board member, stated: “We are proud to be the first to contribute data to the HIE. The immediate communication provided by an HIE helps the patient’s care team to track his/her medical needs, which can prevent repeated hospitalizations and expensive, redundant testing.”
Robert Resendes, director of El Paso’s Public Health Department and PDN HIE board member, also applauded the new connection: “This will be a tremendous time and money saver for both the patient and physicians. It is not uncommon for a patient to have several physicians. Having all members of one’s medical team have access to all records will result in more coordinated treatment and even a reduction in medical visits – freeing up ‘slots’ for other patients.”
Currently, PDN HIE offers direct secure messaging and community health records. Offerings will continue to grow as additional providers share data and the HIE deploys new technologies.
Another significant accomplishment for PDN HIE is its recent accreditation. In June, PDN HIE announced that it had achieved full accreditation with the Texas Health Information Exchange Accreditation Program (TX-HIEAP) from the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC) and the THSA. Texas HIE Accreditation ensures HIEs within Texas are interoperable with state and federal programs, and provide the private, secure and proper exchange of health information in accordance with established laws and public policy.
Through the consultative review process, EHNAC and THSA evaluated PDN HIE in areas of privacy, security and confidentiality; technical performance; business practices and organizational resources as it relates to HIE participants in Texas. In addition, EHNAC and THSA reviewed the organization’s process of managing and transferring protected health information and determined that the organization meets or exceeds the necessary program criteria and industry standards.
According to Lee Barrett, executive director of EHNAC, “The Texas HIE Accreditation Program ensures that organizations like PDN HIE meet the specific needs and legal requirements of the state, in addition to the EHNAC national HIE program. By achieving accreditation, PDN HIE has proven its commitment to the highest standards in privacy, security, confidentiality and sustainability in health information exchange, and we commend them on such a considerable accomplishment.”
With these advancements, PDN HIE is positioned to make a significant impact on the El Paso population. According to Jon Law, executive director of PDN HIE, “Border communities present unique health challenges for clinicians, including: high prevalence of chronic disease, lower household incomes, and relatively high levels of migration in the population. There is a great need for coordinated healthcare and health education. By providing HIE services, PDN HIE can assist health care providers and patients achieve their goals.”
For more information about PDN HIE, please visit http://pdnhie.org/ .