In a significant step toward accelerating the adoption of electronic health records, Verizon Business has launched an information technology platform that enables the digital sharing of physician-dictated patient notes.
The Verizon Medical Data Exchange, launched Wednesday (March 3) at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society annual conference in Atlanta, provides a way for medical transcriptionists to share digitized patient notes detailing patients' care and treatment with doctors, hospitals and other health care providers. Until now, the lack of an interoperable, nationally available platform has made it difficult to share these notes, which primarily form the basis of electronic health records.
Verizon Business developed the platform for the Medical Transcription Service Consortium under an agreement announced last November. (See related news release.) Founding consortium members MD-IT and MedQuist currently are using the platform. By August, when the Medical Data Exchange is expected to be in use by all of the consortium's members, 350,000-plus physicians, more than 2,700 clinics and nearly 2,500 hospitals will be supported.
The Medical Transcription Industry Association estimates that its members create and electronically archive nearly 60 percent of the more than 1.2 billion clinical notes produced in the U.S. each year. Approximately 25 percent of these records currently are shared among health care providers, including other physicians, hospitals and insurance companies.
"Pervasive sharing of patient information can save lives, but complex challenges have stood in the way of health IT solutions," said Peter Tippett, vice president, security solutions and enterprise innovation for Verizon Business.
"The Verizon Medical Data Exchange provides a means to accelerate the sharing of a wide range of digital health information between physicians and health care organizations. Digital record sharing among the entire health information ecosystem can help speed patient diagnoses while enabling health care organizations to operate more efficiently and cost-effectively," Tippett said.
Medical Data Exchange Delivers Simplicity
Designed to meet the requirements of the Nationwide Health Information Network, the Verizon Medical Data Exchange delivers an interoperable platform that enables medical transcription firms to maintain their current IT systems, processes and workflows. The Nationwide Health Information Network, overseen by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, is a collection of standards, protocols, legal agreements, specifications and services designed to promote the development of a national infrastructure to support the secure exchange of health information over the Internet.
"We just started rolling out the Verizon Medical Data Exchange to our clients, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive," said Robin Daigh, vice president - marketing and business development, MD-IT. "Physicians appreciate the ease with which they can share clinical documents and access patient records online. Office staffs are already eliminating hours of administrative time otherwise spent printing, faxing, scanning and filing documents."
The Verizon Medical Data Exchange uses a central directory to automatically verify the identities of senders and recipients so that sensitive patient medical information can be shared only with authorized users. Information flowing over the platform is encrypted for an additional layer of security and privacy. Certification by a qualified third party is required for companies using the platform, helping ensure that IT systems and internal controls meet the requirements of the Medical Transcription Service Consortium.
"The Verizon Medical Data Exchange platform is exactly the kind of practical and secure solution the health care industry needs to not just reduce costs but improve overall efficiencies," said Amy Larsen DeCarlo, principal analyst - managed IT services, Current Analysis. "The exchange provides a nationally available platform that will help accelerate the adoption of electronic health records and scale to meet future data sharing requirements across the health care ecosystem."
Creation of the Medical Transcription Service Consortium was spearheaded by the Medical Transcription Industry Association and ICSA Labs, an independent division of Verizon Business. The consortium's other charter members are Verizon and medical transcription companies MD-IT, MedQuist, MxSecure, Sten-Tel and Webmedx.
By leveraging its IT expertise and world-class networks, the Verizon Connected Healthcare Solutions practice group provides innovative solutions to help transform patient care delivery, better manage costs, enhance access to services, and maintain data privacy.
About Verizon Business
Verizon Business, a unit of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ), is a global leader in communications and IT solutions. We combine professional expertise with one of the world's most connected IP networks to deliver award-winning communications, IT, information security and network solutions. We securely connect today's extended enterprises of widespread and mobile customers, partners, suppliers and employees - enabling them to increase productivity and efficiency and help preserve the environment. Many of the world's largest businesses and governments - including 96 percent of the Fortune 1000 and thousands of government agencies and educational institutions - rely on our professional and managed services and network technologies to accelerate their business. Find out more at www.verizonbusiness.com.