Moving Ahead with Health Information Exchange
The health industry in the Evergreen State has been working for years to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs. One of the
main barriers to progress has been the inability to easily share health information between and among health organizations. Because
patient information is fragmented across hundreds of enterprises, it is difficult for any one enterprise to significantly improve
their performance without engaging their trading partners.
Technology and business solutions need to be created that allow organizations to appropriately share data externally, while also
enhancing use of information internally. Clearly, there is a need for comprehensive Health Information Exchange (HIE).
Aligning Players in Washington State
While some communities and organizations in Washington state have organized effective HIE solutions on a local or organization-wide
basis, a statewide cross-enterprise solution that makes long-term business sense has not been achieved.
Now, with engagement and support from the public sector, a concerted private sector-led effort is taking shape to advance Health
Information Exchange in Washington state.
Federal & State Support - Private Sector Engagement
During 2009, the U.S. Congress and the Washington State Legislature enacted laws in support of robust Health Information Exchange.
In Olympia, a new law was enacted to accelerate the secure exchange of "high value" health data - including lab results, medications,
immunizations, diagnostic images, and others. The law directs the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) to designate a private
sector organization to lead implementation of HIE.
The Federal program - named the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act - is briefly described in the sidebar.
The Role of OneHealthPort
In response to both the Federal grant opportunity and State law, HCA designated OneHealthPort to serve as the lead HIE organization for Washington. In this role, OneHealthPort is responsible for:
- Leading initial development of HIE in a manner that will comply with the new State law (SB 5501 is now part of the Revised Code of Washington, Chapter 41.05);
- Satisfying the grant objectives of the Federal Health HITECH Act; and
- Attracting private and public sector stakeholders to invest and participate in HIE.
Links to References, Updates and Meeting Materials