NHIN Is Fully Functional, Secure

As featured inĀ Advance for Health Information Professionals

The Cooperative Exchange announced that the National Health Information Network (NHIN) superhighway currently exists through the inter- and intra- connectivity of its member organizations, and electronic health records (EHR) can currently be transferred between providers securely and efficiently.

“It is important for key officials to know that concerning the transference of EHRs, there is no need to re-invent the process,” said Doug Bilbrey, president of the Cooperative Exchange. “The National Health Information Network already exists for financial transactions, and the Network could easily be used to move clinical transactions.”

The “gateways,” or clearinghouses, enable providers and other trading partners to establish connections with payers. The Cooperative Exchange has developed a collaborative environment among organizations that transmit a significant percentage of the health care electronic transactions through its member organization. Each year, claims clearinghouses and other electronic data interchange vendors across the nation electronically transmit billions of claims and related financial/administrative transactions among providers and payers.

“In 2008, The Cooperative Exchange’s member clearinghouses managed and moved nearly a trillion dollars worth of complex data for over a half billion transactions, processed in both real-time and batch,” notes Bilbrey.

The clearinghouse industry currently provides a Health Information Exchange (HIE) platform that has evolved over the past 30 years, connecting the large majority of all health care providers, health plans and many other health care entities such as pharmacies and labs.

Currently, the infrastructure allows for the secure transference of millions of health care transactions each day amongst all of the health care constituents in both batch and real-time modes. The infrastructure is highly extensible allowing it to evolve to meet the current and future needs of the health care industry such as the addition of new healthcare transactions (e.g. quality measures, patient summaries) and regulations. It is a proven and known health exchange model that provides value to each constituent and is based on a variety of sound business models.

For consumers, there is a lack of connectivity (patient-to-provider), privacy and authorization issues and lack of timely and basic awareness of their own medical records. The Cooperative Exchange can provide a portal strategy, security, opt-out capabilities along with awareness and educational (e-learning) programs.

For providers, there is a lack of connectivity (peer-to-peer) and implementation of standards, multiple communication systems through complex and broken channels and an overall lack of simplicity around the transfer of data. The Cooperative Exchange can provide connectivity through point-to-point connections, portal content management, an implementation strategy, defined standards, interface capabilities and seamless communication systems.

For the payer/employer, there is a lack of connectivity (payer-to-payer), no unified portal strategy and disparate legacy systems. The Cooperative Exchange can also provide unified state-of the-art technology, transport and translation capabilities and portal capabilities all through the existing infrastructure and technology.

For Healthcare Information Technology (HIT), there is a lack of connectivity (HIT-to-HIT), different platforms, different standards (major cause of interface issues) and non-existent or inadequate workflow and methodology. The Cooperative Exchange can even enable transparent utility and connectivity by enabling standards and format conversion normalization.

Since the clearinghouse industry is currently interoperable with providers, payers, EHR and POMIS vendors and other trading partners, clearinghouse platforms and gateways provide the secure electronic capabilities for submission of electronic data and reconciliation of information through data aggregation of de-identified information both through claims and possibly through EHR’s. Clearinghouses meet the security, privacy and compliance regulations and are certified by the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC), which will provide secure receipt and transmission of information.

Bilbrey continued, “For the last 30 years, clearinghouses have been laying the tracks, and now the superhighway is built and ready for more traffic.”