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States Look to Contract More HISP Services

April 25, 2011
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As blogger Brian Ahier points out, ONC’s Direct Project may lead HIEs to decentralize

One of my favorite blogs to check in on regularly is Healthcare, Technology & Government 2.0 written by Brian Ahier, a health IT evangelist for Information Systems at the Mid-Columbia Medical Center in The Dalles, Ore. Besides having great insights, Brian also often shares his efforts at recording events or finding transcripts to post.

Brian participated in the recent Direct Boot Camp in Chicago put on by the Office of the National Coordinator. His description of that meeting highlights some important trends in health information exchange, and I encourage you to check it out in its entirety.

To summarize, the Boot Camp was geared toward states that are implementing the Direct Project as part of their strategic and operational plans. Many of these states had their plans approved before the Direct Project was able to provide working code. Now that it is further along, some states are putting more emphasis on using Direct for direct messaging, he notes, while more vendors are offering services based on Direct. “Therefore, many states that were originally planning to act as a Health Information Service Provider (HISP) themselves are now moving towards creating a preferred vendor list for HISPs and monitoring the market to ensure coverage for all the providers in their state,” he writes. (A HISP provides services that are required for Direct Project exchange, such as the management of trust between senders and receivers.)

For instance, at the Boot Camp, leaders of the Rhode Island Quality Institute, which is responsible for HIE in the state, said they have decided not to be a HISP. Instead, they will “pre-qualify” four to six other vendors and organizations as HISPs and focus on connecting providers to them. This change of approach may speed and simplify the exchange of documents and lab results, especially between smaller provider organizations, in the period before HIEs reach maturity (or morph into something else altogher).

Brian also provides a handy list of all the currently approved state-specific strategic and operational plans for creating health information exchange capacity.

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