Healtheway, Inc. is a fully incorporated organization that provides management and administration support for two Health Information Exchange (HIE) programs, eHealth Exchange and Carequality. They host monthly informational calls that are open to the public in which updates on both programs, including general and specific points along their existing project timelines, are discussed.
eHealth Exchange is the federal network that focuses on developing the infrastructure to support the secure and trusted exchange of health information between the federal agencies and healthcare organizations. Participants in this network are onboarded and must demonstrate success through 35 tests to operate as a bi-directional exchange. There are currently 51 participants in the eHealth Exchange process and the list can be viewed here.
Carequality is a recent addition to the oversight role of Healtheway and their goal is “to facilitate agreement on a common national-level set of requirements that will enable providers to access patient data from other groups” (Carequality Press Release, 2014). Their model is similar to the banking industry’s framework during the creation of the ATM network. Both programs are designed to operate independent of their support organization and have their own by-laws and organizational structure to help them accomplish their goals and achieve their mission.
On their June 6th call, it was evident that the eHealth Exchange model is maturing, and that existing discussions involve expansion of the participants and further defining of specifications to improve confidentiality and security of health information. An example of the expansion involved a discussion to create a new subset of Responder Only Profile members that would represent intermediaries, such as medical release of information organizations and EHR vendor networks. These members would not initiate requests but only respond to requests over the Exchange network. This represents a shift in how the Exchange had previously been designed, and presents an opportunity to expand both the size and scope of the network. Further discussions will define criteria for inclusion and sending to the Coordinating Committee for approval.
The updates continued with the Carequality timeline and their creation and approval of the organizational structure, including the Governance Charter, Articles of Incorporation, and By-Laws. This signifies completion of a critical path in their development, and a shift in focus to establishing additional committees, councils, and work groups to begin defining the common national standard for the transmission of health information. To facilitate this major undertaking, the organization is actively seeking nominees for individuals to serve as members in any of these roles that have been defined by their By-Laws; interested individuals can apply on their website .
It is evident that progress is being made to build a standardized structure akin to the banking industry’s implementation of online banking for customer access, and eventual banking access across multiple accounts and institutions. While there are differences in the guiding hand of this progress, the interoperability of healthcare information is key to driving one of the goals of health care reform in reducing costs and improving quality of care.
On July 16th at 2:00 pm, Galen will be presenting a webcast that will provide additional explanation of how this exchange will occur and how real-time access to the patient’s record can substantiate these claims. You can register to this webcast by clicking here.