HIE pilot projects paving way for 2012 adoption

March 10, 2011

By 2012, you may have access to an easy-to-use Internet-based tool that can replace mail and fax transmissions of patient data with secure, efficient electronic health information exchange (HIE), thanks in part to physicians and other healthcare providers now testing HIE using specifications developed by the Direct Project.

By 2012, you may have access to an easy-to-use Internet-based tool that can replace mail and fax transmissions of patient data with secure, efficient electronic health information exchange (HIE), thanks in part to physicians and other healthcare providers now testing HIE using specifications developed by the Direct Project.

Providers and public health agencies in Minnesota and Rhode Island have begun exchanging health information using specifications from the “open government” initiative, which involves cooperative efforts by organizations in the healthcare and information technology (IT) sectors. The pilot project is being carried out on the way to formal adoption of the standards and wide availability for providers, expected by 2012.

Other Direct Project pilot programs will be launched soon in New York, Connecticut, Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma, and California to demonstrate the effectiveness of the streamlined Direct Project approach, which supports information exchange for core elements of patient care and public health reporting.

“This is an important milestone in our journey to achieve secure HIE, and it means that healthcare providers large and small will have an early option for electronic exchange of information supporting their most basic and frequently needed uses,” says David Blumenthal, MD, MPP, national coordinator for health IT, whose office is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Direct Project brought together 200 volunteers from more than 60 companies and other organizations last year to assemble consensus standards that support secure exchange of basic clinical information and public health data.

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