For the first time, the Direct protocol for secure messaging has been used to exchange health data across state lines. Physician offices in Lima, Ohio, and Biloxi, Miss., used Direct messaging to communicate with one another through the statewide health information exchanges in those states.
This is not the first instance, however, of electronic information exchange between healthcare providers in different states. For example, NHIN Connect has been used to pass data back and forth between the MedVirginia HIE and several federal agencies located in other states or Washington, D.C. RelayHealth, a division of McKesson, also has exchanged patient data across state lines.
Other plans for large-scale national connectivity are in the works. Last spring, a consortium of five large healthcare organizations--Kaiser Permanente, Mayo Clinic, Geisinger Health System, Intermountain Health, and Group Health Cooperative--announced plans to exchange their patients' electronic health data on demand. And the VA system recently teamed up with military and private-sector providers to pilot a cross-country data exchange utilizing the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN).
Nevertheless, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) is pleased that use of the Direct protocols--which ONC created in collaboration with private-sector firms--now has spread across state lines.
"We at ONC are excited to see this first productive use of Direct protocols for the exchange of health information between two states," National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari said, according to an announcement by CliniSync, the Ohio state HIE.
To learn more:
- read the CliniSync announcement
- see the MedVirginia press release from 2008
- check out this InformationWeek Healthcare article on the Connectivity Consortium
- read this InformationWeek Healthcare piece on the VA pilot