MedVirginia has been an industry leader in health information exchange (HIE) and interoperability. It has achieved a number of significant milestones, including:
- First HIE to connect to the Nationwide Health Information Network Exchange (now known as eHealth Exchange)
- First HIE to achieve interoperability with the Social Security Administration for automation of the disability determination process
- First HIE to connect to the Veterans Health Administration and Department of Defense health records systems as part of the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record initiative
These initiatives have brought significant and documented value to MedVirginia’s stakeholders. Because of such demonstrated success, MedVirginia has expanded its gateway connectivity to eHealth Exchange and offers cost-effective solutions to its growing base of partners. As discussed on the Sequoia Project website, eHealth Exchange (“Exchange”) is a group of federal agencies and non-federal organizations that came together under a common mission and purpose to improve patient care, streamline disability benefit claims and improve public health reporting through secure, trusted and interoperable health information exchange.
Participating organizations mutually agree to support a common set of standards and specifications that enable the establishment of a secure, trusted and interoperable connection among all participating Exchange organizations for the standardized flow of information by:
- Sending health information to other participating organizations
- Finding and requesting copies of healthcare information from other participating organizations where permitted by law and policy
- Matching patients to their data without a national patient identifier
- Subscribing to receive updates to health information
The organizations involved in the Exchange built upon the early testing, demonstration and development work from the Nationwide Health Information Network trial implementations and built production-level capabilities. In 2009, the first two Exchange participants, the Social Security Administration and MedVirginia, began exchanging data in production to automate and expedite the Social Security disability benefits claims process. Later that year, the Veterans Health Administration, Department of Defense and Kaiser Permanente joined and began exchanging summary patient records in support of the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record. These early experiences helped prove the viability of an interconnected exchange model and provided invaluable lessons on how to improve, advance and grow information exchange on a nationwide scale. Today, over 30 organizations participate in the eHealth Exchange, with more than 100 organizations expected in the coming months. Currently each organization must support a common set of standards and specifications, proving compliance and the ability to interoperate with other Exchange participants through testing. Organizations are held accountable through contractual arrangement and a committee structure.
The eHealth Exchange’s objective over the next two years is to grow the community of Exchange participants, increase the quality of data and gradually expand the use cases supported by the Exchange, as well as continue to refine, mature and build capabilities to support broader connectivity and nationwide data exchange.