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4/6/2011
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Verizon, Medfx Pilot Health Information Exchange

Virginia test integrates federal Direct Project protocols and Nationwide Health Information Network Exchange standards to create secure, two-way exchange of patient health information.

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Verizon and Medfx have successfully piloted a health data exchange project using Direct Project protocols and Nationwide Health Information Network (NWHIN) Exchange standards to enable doctors at two healthcare delivery organizations to exchange, store, access, and share patient information.

Announced April 5, the pilot is one of the first successful health information exchange (HIE)-based demonstrations to integrate two key federal health IT initiatives -- the Direct Project and NWHIN Exchange -- that are designed to improve care management through secure, two-way exchange of patient health information. The pilot was supported by Verizon's IP networks and other services offered through its Verizon Connected Healthcare Solutions program.

The health delivery organizations in the pilot are Dominion Medical Associates, a Richmond, Va.-based independent, minority-owned physician practice with more than 5,000 active patients, and CenVaNet, a healthcare provider network with 900 physicians and 11 not-for-profit hospitals serving central Virginia. They used MedVirginia, a community-based HIE that provides a platform to link clinical data from physicians, hospitals, labs, and pharmacies.

The pilot project is an example of the ways in which smaller physician practices with limited resources can use federal initiatives and vendor technology to gradually move from paper-based systems to digitized medical records prior to adopting electronic health record (EHR) systems.

Peter Tippett, VP of security and industry solutions at Verizon, said in an interview that once healthcare delivery organizations digitize their patient records and use the Direct Project's tools to electronically exchange patient information securely over the Internet, they are encouraged to take the next step and adopt EHR systems.

"In the case of Dominion, access to the electronic exchange of clinical information, including multiple types of clinical documentation, through the Direct Project is their first attempt to electronically exchange data," Tippett said. "This project has served to acclimate the clinicians to the use of technology and the efficiency it affords them to streamline workflows in their practice. Dominion is fully motivated and well on their way to selecting an EHR."

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