Texas Health Services Authority partners to develop HIE standards

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EHNAC and the Texas Health Services Authority Partner to Develop Accreditation Standards for Health Information Exchange (HIE) Organizations Operating in the State of Texas

The Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC), a non-profit standards development organization and the Texas Health Services Authority (THSA) today announced a partnership to develop a state accreditation program for public and private HIE organizations operating in Texas. HIE is the secure electronic exchange of patient personal health information between treating physicians, hospitals, health care payers, and other health care providers involved in the care of the patient. The accreditation program is being designed to improve HIE coverage and interoperability for all Texans and to provide a mechanism to establish trust in HIE.

The program will certify qualified HIE applicants within the state of Texas to ensure they are operating under accepted and uniform standards in the handling of protected health information (PHI). Once the program is developed, EHNAC and THSA will review technical performance, business processes, resource management and other relevant information to ensure that accredited HIEs within Texas are interoperable with state and federal programs, and provide the private, secure and proper exchange of health information in accordance with established laws and public policy.

“The state of Texas is a true innovator in driving interoperability and protecting the privacy and security of patient data through both public and private HIEs,” said Lee Barrett, executive director, EHNAC. “We are pleased to have been selected to collaborate with THSA on the development of this program. We applaud the THSA for its commitment to connecting Texans and enhancing care by ensuring the secure exchange of health information across the state.”

Over the next three months, the THSA will work with EHNAC to collaboratively develop the program based on existing criteria and
processes from EHNAC’s Health Information Exchange Accreditation Program (HIEAP), while ensuring that it is customized to meet state requirements. The program’s criteria categories will include the review of organizational, operational, technical, and privacy and security policies and procedures. To the extent appropriate and consistent with the aims of the program, EHNAC and THSA will align the program with Texas law and relevant guidance from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), including the ONC’s Governance Framework for Trusted Health Information Exchanges.

“Given EHNAC’s leading role in the assessment and accreditation of compliance with multiple health information protection regulations and best practices through EHNAC’s many accreditation programs, I am very confident in our choice to work with EHNAC on this important project,” said Tony Gilman, chief executive officer, THSA. “Increasing market confidence in organizations involved in exchanging and maintaining electronic health information through regular assessments is one way to support greater participation in and ultimately sustainability of HIE efforts in Texas and across the US.”

Similar to other EHNAC accreditation programs, the THSA and EHNAC will jointly publish the proposed program for public review and comment, following approval of the draft program by EHNAC and THSA. Once the state-wide HIE accreditation program is established, executives from both organizations will participate in a public webinar in which staff will describe the program and key criteria to all stakeholders. The program’s formal launch is expected in Q3 2014.

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