Patients crossing state line for medical care in Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska states in USA will now benefit from patient data sharing scheme that allows hospitals and physicians from different states to send and receive basic healthcare messages between each other.
The Nebraska Health Information Initiative (NeHII), Kansas Health Information Network (KHIN), and Missouri Health Connection (MHC) announced, on January 22, that they are now linked and able to exchange Direct secure messages across state lines.
“By connecting with Kansas and Nebraska, Missouri Health Connection is leading the way toward improved care for patients who cross state lines for medical care,” Mary Kasal, president and CEO of Missouri Health Connection said “We’re excited to now be connected to Kansas, Nebraska and Illinois and look forward to connecting with all our border states.”
In March 2010, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS introduced the initiative to develop a simplified method of “peer-to-peer’ health information exchange, dubbed ‘Direct’.
With Direct Secured Messaging, care providers can exchange authenticated, encrypted health care information such as lab results, clinical notes and patient care summaries through a secure electronic mailbox system to and from trusted recipients over the Internet.
By connecting Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska, the new system will help providers eliminate faxing multiple pages across state borders and instead use an easy, quick and secure Direct secured email message.
The system has been seen by federal health IT authorities as the crucial component of the broader programme to achieve Nationwide Health Information Network (NWHIN) that could serve a highly mobile population or regions across multiple states.
This is different from the broader NWHIN technology of query-and-response that enables a clinician or researcher to request a universe of records for a single patient across multiple providers through regional health information organisation network, and obtain copies of those records.
“This is an exciting achievement that will help streamline communication, particularly for patients who live near the Kansas/Missouri and Kansas/Nebraska state lines. Many patients see health care providers in Kansas and then receive additional care in surrounding states. It is vital that providers have a safe, secure method to communicate critical patient information across state lines,” said Laura McCrary Ed.D, Executive Director of Kansas Health Information Network.
Deb Bass, CEO of the Nebraska Health Information Initiative also said that: “Having Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri connected is one more step towards more coordinated care.”