Texas develops HIE plans with Accenture

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The Texas Health Services Authority (THSA) is developing and refining its plans for the development of a state-wide health information exchange (HIE) with healthcare IT consulting firm Accenture, according to Information Week.

The THSA conducted a detailed assessment of the project in collaboration with Accenture to identify actionable project goals relating to the security and privacy of patient medical data, technical interoperability and medical informatics vendor engagement.

Texas’ HIE project is one of the most ambitious in the U.S. More than 600 healthcare facilities will make use of the exchange, in addition to pharmaceutical distributors, physician practices, insurance providers and other healthcare organizations. The HIE project is funded by a $28 million investment that was made by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) last year to plan and develop clinical informatics networks across the state.

“Consistent with guidelines and standards adopted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the THSA required an assessment of interoperability standards and a plan to support interoperable, secure exchange of health information among unaffiliated organizations,” Rick Ratliff, an executive specializing in healthcare IT connectivity with Accenture, told Information Week.

According to the ONC, more than 22 percent of hospitals and 12 percent of physician practices across Texas are currently using some form of HIE. The THSA plans to increase levels of clinical informatics and HIE connectivity to address shortfalls in the number of pharmaceutical providers utilizing e-prescription systems. At present, approximately 15 percent of Texan pharmacies use e-prescribing technology.

Overall goals of the HIE project aim to improve standards of patient care through healthcare IT systems. Measures proposed by the THSA and Accenture for accomplishing these goals include developing patient outreach programs, establishing information exchange programs with national health information networks, developing standardized methods of interfacing with varying medical informatics systems across the state, and securing patient data by developing data authentication systems.