Verizon launches medical record exchange
New offering enables doctors to dictate and securely share notes about their patients
Verizon today announced a platform aimed at enabling authorized members of the health care community to securely exchange patient health care records. The company is hopeful that use of the system will help individual physicians qualify for as much as $14,000 a year in funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act by using records in a “meaningful” manner.
The new offering, developed with the Medical Transcription Service Consortium, will enable doctors to dictate notes about a patient for transcription and have them forwarded to another health care practitioner via an Internet connection to the Verizon Medical Data Exchange. To help ensure security, each endpoint will receive a certificate from Verizon that can be used to establish a secure Internet tunnel.
“The protocol uses web services,” Dr. Peter Tippett, vice president of security solutions and enterprise innovation for Verizon Business, told Connected Planet in a pre-briefing about the new offering. End user organizations will be given a tool kit to build connectivity capability into their applications. “When an application needs to send something, it makes a call to web services and the Verizon exchange deals with those calls,” Tippett said. “We also require each member to be certified to make sure their equipment is secure enough and we really know they are who they say they are.”
The system will support detailed patient record formats that will assign specific information to each of 20,000 discrete fields, Tippett said. But he added that hundreds of thousands of medical record systems in use today do not support these formats, so rather than wait for compliant systems to be more widely deployed, Verizon’s system accepts a variety of record types, including Word documents, x-rays, and insurance forms. Previously, 90% of all records shared between doctors went by fax or the U.S. Postal Service, Tippett said.
Verizon’s affiliation with the Medical Transcription Service Consortium should give the new exchange wide reach because, according to Verizon, about two-thirds of doctors use the consortium. Verizon will be compensated—initially at least--through annual member fees, which will vary depending on the size of each member. Non-member health information exchanges, state governments, hospitals and health care organizations also can join. Longer term, Tippett said Verizon might consider usage-based pricing.
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