Verizon launches cloud-based health information exchange
A monthly fee-based system eliminates the need for health care providers to create their own systems.
Verizon (NYSE:VZ) today launched a cloud-based health information exchange — an application that appears well suited to a cloud-based approach. The service is aimed at enabling health care providers to easily and securely exchange patient medical records, eliminating the need for the providers to create their own IT systems to handle that task.
“Verizon has thought of the diverse requirements and drivers for HIE,” said Gerard Grundler, managing principal for HIE services for Verizon Connected Health Care Solutions. “We wanted to solve the problem for the entire health care ecosystem.”
The health care industry has been woefully behind other industries in adopting IT systems, in large part because of security and patient privacy concerns. But health care providers are taking increased interest in simplifying the process of sharing patient records in an effort to minimize costs and provide a higher quality of care. Grundler pointed to Verizon’s experience in handling connectivity for the executive branch of the U.S. government as evidence of the company’s ability to handle high-security needs. To support the HIE offering, Verizon will operate a redundant backup data center supporting real-time replication with live failover capability, he said.
Verizon spent more than a year designing its HIE service, which is also aimed at helping health care organizations meet government guidelines for “meaningful use.” Health care providers have the opportunity to obtain funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act by meeting meaningful use guidelines, which among other things include implementing electronic records and issuing prescriptions electronically.
Supporting Verizon’s offering is a health care transaction database from Oracle. Clients will have the option of maintaining their own records, using Verizon’s HIE service as a platform for sharing data with other health care organizations. Alternatively, they can let Verizon centrally host records or choose a hybrid solution based on an edge server that is located on the customer premises but is part of Verizon’s platform. A fourth option gives the customer a virtual edge server that is located on the Verizon platform.
Verizon designed the HIE offering based on what Grundler called a “zero footprint” approach that will enable doctors to access and interact with the system from any mobile device with browser capability. Another zero-footprint aspect of the service is that it will eliminate the need for customers to handle system maintenance and upgrades, Grundler said.
The browser interface that doctors will see displays patient records in a format that emphasizes the information most important to the doctor at any given time, Grundler said. For example, a doctor treating a patient for diabetes, obesity and blood pressure would be able to click on any one of those three conditions and see only the information relevant to that condition. The doctor would also see charts plotting the patient’s blood pressure and other vital signs over multiple office visits.
Although not part of the initial release, Verizon also hopes to leverage the relationship it already has with millions of individual consumers by eventually enabling them to access their own patient records through a browser interface.
Health care organizations will pay a one-time setup charge for the HIE service, followed by a monthly charge based on the number of patients.
Verizon’s HIE announcement follows the company’s March announcement about a secure exchange for medical records dictated by doctors and created through medical transcription services.
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© 2013 Penton Media Inc.
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