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Tennessee Launches Direct Project

December 11, 2012
by David Raths
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State seeks to create marketplace of health information services providers

Several months after winding down a more ambitious state-level health information exchange architecture, the state of Tennessee has launched the Tennessee Direct Project, a scaled-down exchange based on the Direct secure messaging platform.

Qsource, the Tennessee-based quality improvement organization, will oversee the program and is seeking communities to participate in the pilot phase in partnership with technology vendor ICA (Informatics Corporation of America.) ICA was established to take technology developed by Vanderbilt Medical Center to the broader health care market, and now delivers a health information exchange solution to hospitals, communities and states. The pilot communities are expected to begin participating in the project by early 2013. Qsource noted that the project would help providers meet Stage 2 of meaningful use by providing access to various healthcare data sources and offering data exchange at transitions of care.

Earlier in 2012, state health IT leaders chose to discontinue the work of the Health Information Partnership for Tennessee (HIP TN), which was created to provide a statewide “network-of-networks” model for sharing health data. There was also a plan to provide several enterprise services, starting with links to immunization registries. But facing budget and timeline challenges, the state and the HIP TN board of directors decided to change direction and focus on getting more providers to sign up for Direct.

A press release notes that the state eventually intends to create a marketplace of health information services providers (HISPs) from which healthcare providers can choose.

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