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2/13/2012
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AT&T To Help Expand Indiana's Health Information Exchange

Indiana HIE taps AT&T to further develop the state's health information exchange, and help the exchange launch a professional services organization.

Health IT On Display: HIMSS12 Preview
Health IT On Display: HIMSS12 Preview
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The Indiana Health Information Exchange, Inc. (IHIE) has turned to AT&T to help it build a statewide health information exchange that will support 10 million patients and more than 19,000 physicians at over 80 facilities.

Billed as the nation's largest health information exchange, IHIE will integrate several clinical applications as it gradually adds hospital systems to the exchange, which will require a highly scalable network backbone.

"IHIE's long history of HIE sustainable service development and delivery has given their team a depth of knowledge that is scarce in many states and markets that are trying to quickly respond to the need for a health information exchange," Randall Porter, assistant vice president, AT&T ForHealth told InformationWeek Healthcare. "However, IHIE recognized that it needed help to take these new services to market and to have the capacity to respond to customers."

[ Most of the largest healthcare data security and privacy breaches have involved lost or stolen mobile computing devices. For possible solutions, see 7 Tools To Tighten Healthcare Data Security]

According to a joint statement from both organizations, IHIE's data integration is expanding beyond its current capacity and requires a network that can accommodate data exchanges from additional hospitals and medical facilities that will connect to the exchange in the near-term. To do this, IHIE will install AT&T Healthcare Community Online, which is powered by Covisint's ExchangeLink Platform, which in turn provides services for identity management, community collaboration, and electronic messaging.

IHIE will initially implement AT&T Healthcare Community Online's Clinical Message Exchange in three key hospitals, providing a scalable clinical interface integration platform. This will enable IHIE to accelerate data integration processes within the exchange and make clinical data available across the entire community of care. IHIE plans to add more than 60 additional hospitals to the platform this year.

Among the features of AT&T's Clinical Message Exchange that IHIE will use:

-- Any-to-any messaging to automate point-to-point communication

-- A messaging hub that enables all message translation and routing

-- Message tracking for audit logging for HIPAA and HITECH purposes

-- Secure communication and collaboration capabilities across network domains and organizations

Additionally, IHIE is launching a professional services organization to serve regional and state HIEs and large health systems across the country. IHIE Professional Services will provide planning and advisory services for all aspects of health information exchange, including governance, strategic planning, policy, trust, stakeholder commitment, product delivery, and sustainability. IHIE and AT&T will collaborate on the development and deployment of these services.

IDC analyst Irene Berlinsky, said the announcement is a feather in the cap for AT&T, who gets bragging rights to supporting the nation's largest HIE.

"The announcement marks another step in the digitization of healthcare as Indiana passes from creating an HIE to making the system scale up," Berlinsky told InformationWeek Healthcare. "The announcement is another reminder of the important role telecom providers can play in connected health: providing secure and reliable networks and integrating other vendors--in this case, Covisint--into a robust healthcare solution."

The exchange uses applications such as IHIE's DOCS4DOCS Service, which provides physicians with lab results, radiology, transcriptions, pathology, and hospital admission reports as well as discharge and transfer documents from all participating Indiana hospitals, physician practices, labs, and radiology centers.

For patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer and asthma, IHIE uses the Quality Health First Program platform, which enables more than 1,500 physicians to identify, prevent, and manage their patients' medical conditions. The exchange also uses the Indiana Network for Patient Care (INPC), a clinical informatics network. The health information exchange as well as these clinical applications were developed by the Regenstrief Institute, a medical informatics research organization, and are supported and delivered by IHIE.

"Our vision is to establish a model of health information exchange for the nation," Harold Apple, president and CEO of IHIE, said in a statement. "We operate the most advanced system for connecting disparate healthcare IT systems in the nation, and AT&T is helping us take our efforts to the next level."

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