Western Pennsylvania to launch first health information exchange

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Nine healthcare providers across Pennsylvania have announced their collaboration on what is believed to be the first health information exchange (HIE) in the west of the state, according to Information Week.

The exchange will utilize an electronic master patient index (EMPI) system to transfer data in the continuity of care document (CCD) format. The HIE, known as ClinicalConnect, is expected to launch a pilot program in the next four to six months, in a partnership between the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and Heritage Valley, a healthcare provider which serves the areas northwest of Pittsburgh.

“The mission of provider-based ClinicalConnect is simply to improve care for our patients by providing the right information at the right time, regardless of where patients choose to be treated,” Norman Mitry, chief executive officer of Heritage Valley, told Healthcare IT News.

All nine of the partner organizations are expected to go live within the next 18 months, according to Jacques Dailey, vice president of healthcare IT solutions for medical science, research and patient-centered accountable care at UPMC. The HIE has chosen dbMotion, a healthcare IT connectivity specialist, to develop the EMPI system and aggregate platform in collaboration with Initiate Systems.

A primary focus of the project is to integrate the data available through the HIE into existing clinical informatics systems. When the project is live, physicians will see an icon when they are reviewing patient data to indicate that additional information is available through the HIE regarding patient care options, medical history and prescribing information.

“We are really paying attention to how the clinician views the information at the bedside,” Dailey told the news source. She added that the chief information officers of the participating healthcare facilities had been meeting on a regular basis to “make sure clinicians are enabled by technology.”