The U.S. Virgin Islands announced Monday it plans to test a data interoperability program that will help the Caribbean territory launch its own health information exchange.
Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. signed a letter of intent last week to start a pilot program with CRISP Shared Services, a vendor that specializes in health data, that will enable the instant sharing of health information between doctors’ offices, hospitals and government health departments.
While a timeline for launching the exchange was not given, the initial program will lay the foundation for the USVI’s Office of Health Information Technology to start building the necessary infrastructure, according to a news release.
The office’s director, Michelle Francis, added that exchange will also enable health care institutions and key government agencies across the islands to explore the minimum necessary data elements needed to create secure workflows between providers in the territory’s health system.
“This pilot is a win for the USVI as it gives us a safe and funded space to make the first tangible, technical steps in building our HIE with a nationally recognized, pre-certified, innovative technology organization,” Francis said in the news release.
Francis went on to say her office has already started the “behind-the-scenes” work of creating a data-governance structure and crafting agreements that comply with federal standards. The pilot program, she said, “brings it all into focus and sets it into high gear now.”
With the addition of the U.S. Virgin Islands, CRISP Shared Services now supports a total of seven health information exchange programs across the country, with others in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Alaska, Connecticut and Washington, D.C. Funding for the pilot will come from a number of federal health agencies, according to the news release.
“This Letter of Intent helps us finally test our ability to connect the health care and services-related data collected by our Government to ensure the proper identification and efficient delivery of services and enhance our care to Virgin Islands residents,” Bryan said in the release. “It will provide health care professionals, agencies, and community organizations with key information to help them make quicker decisions and provide better treatments, resulting in more timely care and more positive outcomes with less burden to the patients.”