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Health Information Exchange Expands in Ohio

June 5, 2013
by Rajiv Leventhal
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HealthBridge, a Cincinnati-based healthcare information exchange (HIE) organization and the Ohio Health Information Partnership have announced the launch of connectivity between the two organizations through the use of Direct, an emerging national standard for securely exchanging health information among healthcare providers.

HealthBridge is an HIE organization located in Cincinnati, Ohio, that serves more than 30 hospitals and 7,500 physicians in southwest Ohio as well as parts of Indiana and Kentucky. The Ohio Health Information Partnership began connecting hospital systems in December 2011. Since its inception, it now has 90 hospitals contracted, 37 live, and more than 1,200 physicians who have joined CliniSync, Ohio’s statewide health information exchange located in the Columbus area.

“This is an exciting first step in expanding health information exchange and connectivity across the state of Ohio,” Craig Brammer, CEO of HealthBridge, the Health Collaborative and the Greater Cincinnati Health Council, said in a statement. “We’re excited to be partnering with the Ohio Health Information Partnership to establish an HIE-to-HIE connection, which will further expand the information that we’re able to exchange among healthcare providers throughout the state.”  

By using Direct, doctors, nurses and other providers across Ohio willbe able to share a summary of a patient’s medical record, medication information or send information about referrals electronically. Better information in the hands of providers at the point of care can lead to better decision making and faster, more effective treatment, more accurate diagnosis, and more positive outcomes for their patients.

“We are very pleased to partner with HealthBridge in this pioneering information exchange,” said Dan Paoletti, CEO of the Ohio Health Information Partnership, which manages the CliniSync HIE. “Providers need to have access to the most recent and accurate information about their patients. This is critical to quality healthcare. By ensuring that there is a secure way to share information with other healthcare providers in Ohio they can have the information they need to best care for their patients.”

Direct is based on a new national technology protocol fostered by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). Direct is specifically designed for simple, secure communication of health information in today’s healthcare context. It allows a provider to share a patient’s health information with another provider of care easily.

Any provider with an internet connection could utilize Direct to exchange patient information securely, electronically and instantaneously without having to establish expensive interfaces and removing the time-consuming process of printed, faxed or mailed exchange of patient information. Direct protocols are now used by electronic health record vendors, state and federal agencies. Direct is also an accepted standard for meeting federal meaningful use requirements.

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