Pennsylvania officials announce plans to develop the state’s first HIE

As more states have begun to expand the magnitude of care afforded to patients through seamless sharing of information via a healthcare information exchange (HIE), officials from Pennsylvania announced recently that the state has made plans to develop its first comprehensive electronic exchange program.

According to a report in the Pittsburgh Gazette, the widespread, standardized exchange program will be available to participating facilities in roughly two years. Service will be first be provided to healthcare providers within the West Penn Allegheny Health System before extending to other facilities including Butler Health System, Jefferson Regional Medical Center, MedExpress Urgent Care, The Washington Hospital and more, the Gazette reports.

With the ability to access a patient's entire medical history from a range of different regional service providers, Pennsylvania's HIE will be able to navigate around traditional obstacles that stood in the way of patient care because only a partial picture of a patient's clinical history was available. For example, if a physician believes a patient needs a CT scan, the physician can check other facilities' records to be sure that no duplicate procedures are undertaken.

Moreover, addressing potential issues of privacy with patient information shared on this scale, Aaron Billger of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield – an insurance company associated with Pennsylvania's HIE development – told Essential Public Radio: "Only patient-specific information related to you will be accessible by your physician. Other information, such as clinical quality standards, will be presented in an aggregate where there will be no personally identified information."

For those facility managers looking to reap the many benefits of joining a statewide HIE as well, deploying the services of a medical technology consulting company will lay the framework for seamless integration of electronic medical records software into a facility's infrastructure, helping to make the practice a viable candidate for HIE entry. 

Microwize Technology is a leading healthcare IT consultant offering products such as electronic medical records software and medical billing software from top providers like Allscripts and McKesson, including McKesson's Medisoft, Lytec and Practice Choice products.