One of the biggest obstacles to sharing patient information electronically is that health care systems and providers use a wide range of incompatible IT platforms and software to create and store data in various formats. A new service - the Verizon Health Information Exchange - will soon be available via the "cloud" to address this challenge.
The Verizon Health Information Exchange, one of the first services of its kind in the U.S., will consolidate clinical patient data from providers and translate it into a standardized format that can be securely accessed over the Web. Participating exchange providers across communities, states and regions will be able to request patient data via a secure online portal, regardless of the IT systems and specific protocols the providers use. This will enable providers to obtain a more complete view of a patient's health history, no matter where the data is stored.
Having more information at their fingertips will help providers reduce medical errors and duplicative testing, control administrative costs and, ultimately, enhance patient safety and treatment outcomes. Since the monthly charges are based on a provider's patient-record volume, the service is economical.
(Note - Listen to an audio podcast on Verizon Health Information Exchange.)
"By breaking down the digital silos within the U.S. health care delivery system, the Verizon Health Information Exchange will address many of the interoperability barriers that prevent sharing of clinical data between physicians, clinics, hospitals and payers," said Kannan Sreedhar, vice president and global managing director, Verizon Connected Health Care Solutions. "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."
Adoption of health information exchanges is expected to grow as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. As of March, 56 federal grants totaling $548 million have been awarded to states to facilitate and expand the secure electronic movement and use of health information among organizations, using nationally recognized standards.
Strong Security, Comprehensive Service
Because the Verizon Health Information Exchange will be delivered via Verizon's cloud computing platform, health care organizations will be able to use their current IT systems, processes and workflows, without large additional capital expenditures. The service will be ideal for large and small health care providers.
The Verizon Health Information Exchange will use strong identity access management controls to provide security for sensitive patient information. Only authorized users will have access to patient clinical data.
To build out the solution, Verizon will leverage the capabilities of several key technology and service providers - MEDfx, MedVirginia and Oracle - to deliver key features of the service including: clinical dashboard , record locator service, cross-enterprise patient index and secure clinical messaging.
"The ability to dynamically scale technical resources and pay for those used are key benefits of health information exchange platforms hosted in the cloud," said Lynne A. Dunbrack, program director, IDC Health Insights. "Cloud-based platforms will appeal to small to mid-sized organizations looking to shift technology investment from cap-ex to op-ex and to large regional or statewide initiatives that need to establish connectivity with myriad stakeholders with divergent needs and interoperability requirements."
MedVirginia to Adopt Verizon Health Information Exchange
Among the enterprise clients planning to adopt Verizon's new platform is MedVirginia, a long-time health care pioneer serving central Virginia. Formed in 2000 by a consortium of Virginia health care providers, the Richmond-based organization has long focused on initiatives to improve the quality, safety and efficiency of health care through IT innovations, including the 2006 launch of MedVirginia Solution®, a community-based health information exchange.
"Based on our track record of success, MedVirginia projects continued growth in the expanding marketplace for health IT," said Michael Matthews, chief executive officer of MedVirginia and chairman of the NHIN Coordinating Committee administered by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. "Our current and future needs require enhanced functionality, flexibility, performance and scalability, and the cloud-based Verizon Health Information Exchange meets those requirements."
Health Information Exchange Will Meet Stringent Federal Standards
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.
Verizon Connected Healthcare Solutions
The Verizon Health Information Exchange is the latest in a series of initiatives that the company has implemented to help accelerate the use of technology in health care. For example, in March, Verizon Business launched the Verizon Medical Data Exchange, and last November, the company introduced Verizon Telehealth Collaboration Services.
Visit the Verizon Connected Healthcare Solutions website for more information.
About Verizon Business
Verizon Business, a unit of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: 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.