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9/24/2010
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Army Taps InterSystems For Health Information Exchange

Grant will demonstrate feasibility of implementing an integrated military-civilian HIE in Washington State.




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The U.S. Army has awarded InterSystems a research, development, test, and evaluation grant to enable health information exchange (HIE) among military and commercial healthcare providers via the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN). The grant will fund implementation and support of the InterSystems HealthShare platform for regional and national electronic health records (EHRs).

The Cambridge, Mass.-based company made the announcement Tuesday and said the project will demonstrate the feasibility of efficiently implementing an integrated HIE between a Department of Defense (DOD) facility -- the Madigan Healthcare System -- and civilian partner organizations of the South Sound HIE. SSHIE was formed to organize and implement information exchange in order to improve the health of the South Puget Sound community in the state of Washington. In addition to Madigan, SSHIE also includes the MultiCare and Franciscan Health Systems.

The proposed solution includes a regional enterprise master patient index, a record locator service, and a bi-directional data exchange platform that provides for interoperability between Madigan, MultiCare, and Franciscan.

"I see this initiative as contributing to the overall information exchange between our managed care partners and a DOD facility... in this case, Madigan," Rick Barnhill, program manager of clinical informatics at Madigan, said in a statement.

"If, in the end, we have the ability to quickly find basic patient and health data that can be used either in the emergency room setting for patients who require urgent care, or in the standard outpatient setting when information relating to patients' health is available to the contracted care provider, we will consider this project a success," Barnhill added.

Madigan Healthcare System is a growing care facility located on more than 120 acres of land on Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Tacoma, Wash. With 57,000 beneficiaries, the medical center's tri-service mission encompasses active duty, family members, and military retirees residing in its 40-mile catchment area.

As one of the U.S. Army's most state-of-the-art and technically advanced medical centers, Madigan is one of only three designated Level II trauma centers throughout the U.S. Medical Command (MEDCOM). Additionally, Madigan's Andersen Simulation Center, which helps train thousands of doctors, nurses, and medics each year, holds the distinction of being the first educational institution in the Department of Defense accredited by the American College of Surgeons.

MultiCare Health System is an integrated health organization made up of four hospitals including Allenmore Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital, Mary Bridge Children's Hospital, and Tacoma General Hospital, as well as numerous primary care and urgent care clinics. The Franciscan Health System, located in Washington State, is a faith-based organization affiliated with Catholic Health Initiatives, one of the largest non-profit health organizations in the United States.

"The DOD, Department of Veterans Affairs, and other agencies have embraced the NHIN to facilitate information sharing on a national basis. This project will leverage that work for NHIN interoperability between Madigan and its private sector partners," Paul Grabscheid, InterSystems VP of strategic planning, said in a statement. "Reflecting our successful working partnership, InterSystems has provided the DOD and VA hospitals with multiple advanced software technologies to implement healthcare systems across the country. We appreciate the opportunity to work on an initiative that is another step forward to truly connected healthcare."

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