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Georgia, South Carolina Connect Statewide HIEs

November 14, 2014
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Georgia and South Carolina have announced the successful connection between their two statewide heath information exchanges (HIEs), becoming one of the first state-to-state HIEs in the country.

The partnership between the Georgia Health Information Network (GaHIN) and South Carolina's Health Information Exchange (SCHIEx) will help facilitate the seamless and secure exchange of patient health information across state borders among hospitals, physicians and clinicians located in Georgia and South Carolina, officials of the two organizations said.

The Georgia network currently reaches counties across the entire state and has more than 16 million patient records accessible to providers. As of September 2014, more than 200 sites—offices, hospitals, clinics and others—were on SCHIEx, representing 680,000 "interoperable lives," or individual patient records. The potential impact of this connection, if all constituents of both states were to enter the system, could include the health records of approximately 14.8 million people.

"With GaHIN's connectivity to the SCHIEx network comes the ability to seamlessly share medical information immediately and securely across state lines—ultimately paving the way for additional state-to-state connections across the country," Denise Hines, executive director of GaHIN, said in a news release statement. "This expanded connectivity allows for the delivery of the right health information to the right place at the right time‑no matter where the patient is receiving care—across secure, robust inter- and intrastate networks."

GaHIN and SCHIEx created interstate connectivity via support from their technology partners Truven Health Analytics and CareEvolution. The GaHIN and SCHIEx networks leverage a federated exchange architecture that does not necessitate the creation of new data warehouses or a single data location, but rather allows data to remain with the original providers and facilities.

"We recognize that the health needs of South Carolinians don't stop at the state line," said Sue Veer, who chairs the board that governs SCHIEx. "That's why this partnership with Georgia is a great step forward. We look forward to the day when there are no barriers to the secure delivery of health records, so that the life-saving information that healthcare professionals need can follow patients wherever they go in the nation."

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