Healthcare officials in Iowa announce HIE project

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In an attempt to facilitate the sharing of patient health information with isolated rural practices, officials in Iowa recently announced the launch of a health information exchange (HIE) project, reports Healthcare IT News.

ACS, a Xerox company, has been awarded the contract to develop, build and maintain the infrastructure necessary for the project. Officials expect the HIE to be completed and fully operational by the end of this year. The state received funds to develop the HIE from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“No matter where our residents receive care, whether it’s a hospital in Des Moines or a nursing home in a rural town, health practitioners will be able to securely and immediately access critical decision-making information,” Mariannette Miller-Meeks, director of public health for Iowa, told the news source. “ACS will also deploy advanced analytics and quality tools that provide a complete picture of a patient’s health history, medication history, lab results, family and social history, and vital statistics.”

A collaboration of healthcare facilities, care providers and other state agencies have formed Iowa eHealth, an organization that will work directly with ACS to develop the HIE. Iowa eHealth plans to launch a pilot testing program of the HIE by the summer.

Adoption of HIEs has grown substantially during the past year. Recently, officials in Illinois chose InterSystems’s HealthShare as the platform for its statewide HIE project, a contract valued at more than $7 million.

A key objective of the Illinois HIE project is to enable physicians to share information across a secure network from a variety of medical informatics systems to improve the quality of patient care. Scalability was also cited as an important reason in the selection of the HealthShare platform, enabling care providers to access the HIE as and when clinical informatics systems become operational throughout the state.