Recognizing the essential role that interoperability plays in advancing health information exchange (HIE), the Texas Health Services Authority adopted a policy statement at its February 19th board meeting underscoring its commitment to streamlining connectivity among health information systems. The purpose of the policy statement is to support vendor neutrality and enhance statewide and federal program interoperability. THSA CEO Tony Gilman stated, “As a leader in health information exchange, THSA is expected to set the standard for policy development that encourages growth on an equal and fair playing field for all participants. We believe our policy statement on interoperability establishes a clear path forward and defined expectations for each entity that is sharing critical patient information.” To see the complete THSA policy statement on interoperability go to: http://www.hietexas.org/resources/policy-guidance.
At the February meeting, the board was also provided details on THSA efforts to expand HIETexas State-Level Shared Services. THSA is taking a collaborative and methodical approach to evaluating and implementing new services based on the needs of its local HIE partners. In November 2015, THSA circulated a HIETexas Use Case Survey to solicit feedback from stakeholders on the potential for expanding the scope of the HIETexas State-Level Shared Services in six areas including:
- Statewide event notification,
- Statewide medication history service,
- Statewide laboratory results query,
- FQHC connectivity,
- A state-level provider directory, and/or
- Cloud-based EHR connectivity.
The THSA received numerous informative responses, which were outlined for the THSA board as it begins to formulate a plan for expansion of the HIETexas State-Level Services in a manner that benefits local HIEs, health care providers and patients. A total of 22 responses were received: 6 EHR/HIE service providers; 5 community-based HIEs; 4 health plans; 3 state-level health professional organizations; 1 regional extension center; 1 hospital; 1 physician; and 1 telehealth provider.
The use case survey revealed the following overarching conclusions:
- Broad support exists among health plans to implement all use cases
- Local HIEs indicated they were not sure on most use cases
- 3 HIEs support a state-level provider directory
- 1 HIE also supports event notification and medication history services
- 1 other HIE supports medication history services
- 1 HIE supports state-wide lab results query
- Broad consensus exists among all stakeholders to implement a state-level provider directory
- 4 of 6 uses cases have majority support from respondents (1 at 50% support)