HIE roundup: Chicago effort to be one of nation's largest

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The formation of one of the country's largest health information exchanges lends itself to an influx of HIE news around the U.S.

Thirty-four Chicago-area hospitals are set to exchange patient data as MetroChicago HIE launches early next year, reports the Chicago Tribune.

The exchange will operate an online portal that will allow for patient information, such as lab tests, imaging, diagnoses, medications and treatment, to be shared in real time among hospitals, doctors and eventually patients.

Another 20 to 30 hospitals are expected to join by next summer, and officials hope to eventually include all 89 hospitals in the metro area.

Meanwhile, two Kansas exchange networks have finally worked out details to connect this week, according to Healthcare Informatics. The Lewis And Clark Health Information Exchange (LACIE), which primarily serves providers in the Kansas City area, and the Kansas Health Information Network (KHIN), which serves most of the rest of the state, have been at odds over how patient data can be used after it is transferred from one network to the other.

They faced an end-of-the year deadline to connect, with $1 million in federal funding depending on it. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is offering the networks another $350,000 once they connect to a different state's HIE and complete three public health connections: electronic lab reporting, syndromic surveillance and immunizations.

The Buffalo, N.Y.-area exchange HEALTHeLINK has just added automated state-mandated immunization reporting to the New York State Immunization Information System, according to HealthData Management. Rather than requiring reporting to be done manually, HEALTHeLINK can access the immunization data from provider electronic health records systems.

Providers operating as medical homes for Medicaid patients also can use the HIE platform to better coordinate care. Patients can authorize a care manager to coordinate their treatment using information from the HIE and a secure messaging service.

Northern California health information organizations, meanwhile, are involved in pilot programs on secure messaging, rural health information exchange and personal health records. More than half of California's 58 counties are part of regional exchange efforts, California Healthline says.

And a piece at MedCity News proposes HIEs for healthcare startups as a means to leapfrog interoperability frustrations.

Interoperability and sustainability are among the biggest hurdles that HIEs face, according to the eHealth Initiative's 2013 Health Data Exchange Survey. The report calls interoperability "a great hurdle with little relief in sight."

To learn more:
- find the Chicago Tribune article
- here's the Healthcare Informatics piece
- read the Helth Data Management news
- check out the California Healthline story
- here's the MedCity News article

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