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Texas health authority crafting HIE accreditation plan


By Joseph Conn
Posted: March 25, 2014 - 1:30 pm ET
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The Texas Health Services Authority is seeking public comment on its proposed accreditation program for health information exchanges in the Lone Star State.

The 60-day comment period opened Monday and closes May 23.

The THSA is working with the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission, Farmington, Conn., to develop its accreditation process, which will include review of HIE candidates' technical performance, resource management, business processes and technical performance.

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“Ultimately, our goal is to ensure physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare providers who participate in an accredited HIE know that the HIE has met best practices with respect to privacy and security, as well as other key areas,” said Tony Gilman, the authority's CEO.

In partnership, the THSA and the EHNAC will review relevant information to ensure that accredited HIEs within Texas are interoperable with state and federal programs, and provide private, secure and proper exchange of health information.

“The purpose of the program is to establish accountability and trust with health information exchanges in Texas, as well as between local HIEs and stakeholders, including providers, patients, and others,” said Gilman. “While the program is generally voluntary, community-based HIEs that want to connect to each other through state-shared services will be required to be accredited.”

In 2010, the state's Health and Human Services Commission received a $28.8 million grant from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to promote health information exchange throughout Texas. It contracted with the not-for-profit THSA, created in 2007 by the state Legislature to promote health IT, as the “convening entity” to implement state health information exchange.

Currently, a dozen regional health information exchange organizations operate within the state in collaboration with the THSA. The state authority will soon provide shared services to four HIEs: Greater Houston Healthconnect; Healthcare Access San Antonio; the Integrated Care Collaboration in Austin; and Arlington-based North Texas Accountable Healthcare Partnership, Gilman said. “ICC and GHH are testing connectivity with HIE Texas and should be live soon,” he said, while HASA and NTAHP have started technical integration and onboarding processes. Those services will include (PDF) user authentication, patient consent management, records query and secure document exchange.

EHNAC, founded as a not-for-profit organization in 1993, also accredits electronic prescribing systems, management service organizations, accountable care organizations and third-party benefits administrators, among other entities.

Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn


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