Two major health information exchanges (HIEs) in Texas are planning a merger that would bring together the electronic health records (EHRs) of millions of state residents, according to various news media reports.
Healthcare Access San Antonio (HASA), a regional health information exchange in south central Texas, and North Texas Accountable Healthcare Partnership (NTAHP) in Dallas, are currently in talks to combine with plans to merge; the joint network would span 35 counties clustered around the two cities, according to reports. HASA is the most advanced HIEs in the state, covering 1.5 million patients through 90 percent of area hospitals and physicians. The North Texas health information exchange was started in 2010 and operates with Children’s Hospital of Dallas, the four hospitals of Methodist Health System and the physicians with Methodist Family Health Centers and USMD.
According to a Dallas Morning News report, Joe Lastinger, CEO of the North Texas Accountable Healthcare Partnership, said a merger would save Dallas-area hospitals and physicians time and money in building an information technology grid. And he said it might be large enough to entice health insurers to add their patient records to the grid as well. “This is a holy grail,” Lastinger said in the report. “If you could have a complete medication history for a patient, every doctor would love to have that.”
Another report from the San Antonio Express-News quoted Gijs Van Oort, executive director of HASA as saying, “We’re kind of in the whole exploratory phase at this point. So far, I haven’t seen any dealbreakers.” In that same story, however, Lastinger said that commitment is high and the two organizations are weeks away from signing.