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7/16/2010
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Verizon Announces Cloud EMR Platform

The Verizon Health Information Exchange service allows doctors and healthcare providers to store, manage and share patients' electronic medical records via an online portal regardless of IT systems and specific protocols.

Verizon has announced plans for a cloud-based platform that will be used by doctors and healthcare providers to store, manage and share patients' electronic medical records. Called the Verizon Health Information Exchange, the service, which was introduced July 14, is geared toward helping healthcare delivery organizations bypass several steps on the way to adopting EMRs.

In a podcast to introduce the service, Gerard Grundler, Verizon's managing principal for Health Information Exchange Services, said the service offers healthcare providers "no software licenses, no hardware purchases, rapid deployment capabilities, accelerates return on investment and minimizes the total cost of ownership."

Introduced in the same week that the federal government issued its final "meaningful use" guidelines, which will determine how healthcare providers can qualify for reimbursements by adopting EMR's over the next four years, Verizon hopes to capture a variety of customers by providing a hosted infrastructure that can store the patient records of small offices with three physicians or less, as well as large scale medical facilities with several hundred doctors and tens of thousands of patients. According to Grundler, once a customer signs up with the service, Verizon's technical support team performs risk and interoperability assessments to find out what is needed. The team then integrates the customer's data into the Verizon Health Information Exchange, which is supported by the Oracle Healthcare Transaction Base, a healthcare information exchange platform that supports the integration and operation of a full spectrum of healthcare applications.

Verizon officials also say the service can be used by healthcare providers across communities, states and regions who can request patient data via an online portal, regardless of the IT systems and specific protocols the providers use.

The company said monthly charges are based on a provider's patient record volume and the service delivers key features including clinical dashboard, record locator service, cross-enterprise patient index and secure clinical messaging.

"By breaking down the digital silos within the U.S. health care delivery system, Verizon Health Information Exchange will address many of the interoperability barriers that prevent sharing of clinical data between physicians, clinics, hospitals and payers," Kannan Sreedhar, vice president and global managing director, Verizon Connected Health Care Solutions, said in a statement.

"Providing secure access to patient data will enable health care organizations to make a quantum leap forward in the deployment of IT to meet critical business and patient-care issues," Sreedhar added.

To alleviate security concerns, Verizon Health Information Exchange will use identity access management controls to provide security for sensitive patient information. Only authorized users will have access to patient clinical data, the company said.

The Verizon Health Information Exchange will also meet stringent federal standards for privacy, including provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. In addition, the platform will comply with the requirements of the Nationwide Health Information Network, a collection of standards, protocols, legal agreements, specifications and services overseen by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to support the secure exchange of health information over the Internet, the company said.

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