Regional HIE outlines roadmap for protecting data upon dissolution

Health information exchanges considering closing their doors may wish to pay heed to how regional Wisconsin Health Information Exchange (WHIE) is protecting patient data in its possession now that it has ceased operations, according to a recent article.

The Milwaukee-based exchange, which had more than 1,000 user accounts, notified participants in advance that it was shutting down, then on April 1 disabled user access, according to executive director Kim Pemble. It then created a backup copy of its patient data archive to be securely locked up for six years, to comply with federal and state data retention requirements. The data will be destroyed at the end of the retention period, according to Pemble.

HIE efforts in the state now will shift to the Wisconsin Statewide Health Information Network (WISHIN), which is part of Wisconsin's Department of Health Services. The entity has received grant money from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

Wisconsin is not the only state to have seen a health data exchange--particularly a smaller one--cease operation in favor of a network supported by the state. In a similar move, the board of directors of Kansas' health information exchange voted last September to dissolve itself and turn its operation over to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Just last week, Gov. Sam Brownback signed the Kansas Health Information and Technology Act, which officially transfers the responsibilities of KHIE to KDHE beginning July 1, the Wichita Eagle reported.

Meanwhile, Tennessee's state HIE disbanded last summer, while California's recently revised its strategic and operating plan.

To learn more:
- read the article
- check out the WISHIN website
- here's the Wichita Eagle article