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Texas to Accredit HIEs Through New Partnership

October 16, 2013
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC), a non-profit standards development organization and the Texas Health Services Authority (THSA) have announced a partnership to develop a state accreditation program for public and private health information exchange (HIE) organizations operating in Texas.

The accreditation program is being designed to improve HIE coverage and interoperability for all Texans and to provide a mechanism to establish trust in HIE. The program will certify qualified HIE applicants within the state of Texas to ensure they are operating under accepted and uniform standards in the handling of protected health information (PHI).

Once the program is developed, EHNAC and THSA will review technical performance, business processes, resource management and other relevant information to ensure that accredited HIEs within Texas are interoperable with state and federal programs, and provide the private, secure and proper exchange of health information in accordance with established laws and public policy, according to EHNAC officials.

Over the next three months, the THSA will work with EHNAC to collaboratively develop the program based on existing criteria and processes from EHNAC's Health Information Exchange Accreditation Program (HIEAP), while ensuring that it is customized to meet state requirements, officials said.

The program's criteria categories will include the review of organizational, operational, technical, and privacy and security policies and procedures. To the extent appropriate and consistent with the aims of the program, EHNAC and THSA will align the program with Texas law and relevant guidance from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), including the ONC's governance framework for trusted health information exchanges.

“The state of Texas is a true innovator in driving interoperability and protecting the privacy and security of patient data through both public and private HIEs," Lee Barrett, executive director, EHNAC, said in a statement. "We are pleased to have been selected to collaborate with THSA on the development of this program. We applaud the THSA for its commitment to connecting Texans and enhancing care by ensuring the secure exchange of health information across the state."

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