Hospital labs consider sharing reportable electronic data

At least 500 hospital labs--including labs from about 100 critical access or rural hospitals--could become part of a new initiative funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that would electronically connect their reportable data to public health agencies.

The goal of the initiative, called the Lab Interoperability Cooperative (LIC), is to provide services to hospital labs that would help them submit their results to public health agencies--while meeting Stage 1 of the Meaningful Use final rules.

All hospitals may apply to join the LIC, but they must do it soon. Hospitals that are interested in joining the collaborative must fill out a "Phase I checklist" by April 29, according to Health Data Management. Groups will be selected by July 31.

To assist in this project, CDC has awarded a two-year, $4.9 million grant to the American Hospital Association (AHA), the College of American Pathologists (CAP), and Surescripts, an electronic prescribing network services provider.

The LIC will provide technical assistance to the hospital labs, with a goal of permitting them to start transmitting lab data within six months. Meanwhile, the AHA will assist with the education and recruitment of hospitals, while the CAP will work to involve its membership in the program.

The LIC, which is based on the Surescripts' Network for Clinical Interoperability, is designed to support all federal and state policies and standards for health information exchange--including privacy and security standards (such as HIPAA and state law), technology interoperability standards, and message types (such as HL7).

For more details:
- check out the LIC checklist
- view the LIC press release
- read the Health Data Management article