Tennessee eHealth Exhange Program Trades Patient Information Quickly
A Tennessee-based nonprofit company has created a program to exchange patient information among medical offices, hospitals and other healthcare programs.
Memphis-based healthcare nonprofit Qsource and the Tennessee Office of eHealth Initatives are encouraging healthcare providers to adopt the e-sharing service, called Direct Technology, starting with a series of conferences for healthcare proficers across the state this fall.
Jennifer McAnally Ride is Director of Tennessee’s Regional Extension Center for Health Information Technology, a subsidiary of Qsource. Ride says Direct Technology works much like e-mail, except messages are encrypted health information. Ride says the new technology will help doctors and caregivers follow up on referrals.
“DIRECT enables hospital to get the right information to the next caregiver so you can have continuity of care for that patient,” she says.
Ride says the state is giving early adopters financial incentives to sign on, although she says healthcare providers must first be authorized to participate, especially for security reasons.
“All accredited HISP [Health Information Service Providers] vendors must comply with the federal security and encryption standards to ensure the protection of this very sensitive data,” she says.
Since the pilot project ended in June, Ride says healthcare providers have been adopting the technology relatively quickly.
“In the state of Tennessee, we have close to 200 Direct users,” she says, “and this tends to be growing organically - we started out with these three different pilot projects and from there we’re starting to see it kind of takes on a life of its own.”
Chattanooga-area healthcare groups largely piloted the project.