Wednesday, November 9, 2011

HIE Taking Shape in Kansas

Hays Medical Center (HaysMed) is the first major hospital in Kansas to submit data to the Kansas Health Information Network (KHIN). As of October, HaysMed began testing data capabilities to enable the exchange of secure clinical information between providers.

The Medical Center has successfully transmitted test data on patient demographics and problem lists, plus information on diagnoses, procedures, on allergies, immunizations, along with laboratory results. The center plans to test send medications data later this year.

Over the next several weeks in further testing, KHIN will transfer data back to the medical center. According to Laura McCrary, the network’s Executive Director, “They will look at how the data is populating the exchange to make sure it is populating correctly before going live and actually making the data available to other provider organizations.”

So far, more than 70 medical practices have signed on with KHIN which has also received agreements from more than a dozen hospitals and several more hospitals in various states of reviewing and approving the agreements.

Also in October, Via Christi Health, Wesley Medical Center, and the Kansas University Medical Center constituting the three largest hospitals in Kansas, signed up with the Wichita Health Information Exchange and KHIN. KHIN also works closely with the Missouri-based LACIE network.

McCrary anticipates KHIN to be an approved Health Information Organization (HIO) by the end of the year. This is important since providers who exchange information via an approved HIO are granted some immunity from lawsuits should they inadvertently breach patient privacy while exchanging electronic health records.

Providers in the state can now participate in KHINex, which is KHIN’s secure clinical messaging system that functions much like e-mail with attachments but works with a security level adequate for exchanging health records.

In August, an optometrist in Hiawatha became the first provider to share electronic health records with KHINex during a test of the new system. As McCrary explained, “Hutch Clinic located in a rural area is sharing information with the optometrist on diabetic patients who need eye exams. The patient’s medical information is sent electronically with a referral and their attached clinical information.”

KHIN is also building a bi-directional interface with the Kansas Immunizations Registry called “WeblZ” to enable KHIN participants to submit immunization information to the state electronically as well as to query the registry. The full functionality for immunizations is scheduled to be completed in 2012.

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