Iowa to move to health information exchange

January 04, 2012 | Bernie Monegain, Editor

DES MOINES, IA – Iowa is poised to build a health information exchange (HIE) that will make it possible for even small rural medical practices to share patient information. Officials expect it will be fully operational by year’s end.

The state has tapped ACS, a Xerox Company, to implement and manage its health information exchange.

“No matter where our residents receive care, whether it’s a hospital in Des Moines or a nursing home in a rural town, health practitioners will be able to securely and immediately access critical decision-making information,” said Mariannette Miller-Meeks, MD, director, Iowa Department of Public Health. “ACS will also deploy advanced analytics and quality tools that provide a complete picture of a patient’s health history, medication history, lab results, family and social history, and vital statistics.”

Iowa e-Health, a collaboration of hospitals, consumers, healthcare providers, payers and others, created by Iowa’s Department of Public Health, will work with ACS to implement the Iowa Health Information Network (IHIN). The system will allow the patient and those who participate such as hospitals, healthcare providers and payers including Iowa Medicaid to safely and securely access vital patient health information records.

As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded grants to states, including Iowa, to develop health information exchanges like this one.

States are consistently faced with the challenge of finding ways to leverage health information technology to improve the quality of care,” said Will Saunders, group president, ACS Government Healthcare Solutions. “Not only is our solution cost-effective, it delivers patient-centric knowledge that improves the outcome and efficiency of care.”

Iowa e-Health, the consortium with governance over the direction and operations of the IHIN, plans to begin piloting in July 2012, with full implementation planned by December 2012. The ACS team supporting the IHIN implementation is composed of technology partners including Informatics Corporation of America (ICA) of Nashville, Tenn., Genova Technologies of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and LightEdge Solutions of Des Moines, Iowa.

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