Arizona health network building statewide information exchange

The Health Information Network of Arizona (HINAz) and OptumInsight are teaming up to create a state-wide health information exchange (HIE).

HINAz will implement a HIE platform from OptumInsight, formerly Axolotl Corp., to allow the sharing and exchange of clinical data from all available sources across the state, officials from the two organizations said.

HINAz is an Arizona not-for-profit organization that grew out of the work of Southern Arizona Health Information Exchange and Arizona Medical Information Exchange. The two entities joined together to build a more comprehensive HIE for Arizona.


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HINAz has become a collaborative effort of major health care entities - including health plans, hospitals, large group practices, business leadership, consumers and local administrations in Arizona.

Current health reform policies call for states to build health information exchanges to electronically move clinical information among disparate health care information systems. Additionally, health reform legislation calls for states to build health insurance exchanges to make it easier for consumers to shop for individual health plans.

“Health information exchange is a rapidly evolving concept,” said Dr. Kalyanraman Bharathan, interim CEO of HINAz. “HINAz intends to be in the forefront of that evolution with carefully thought-out, planned growth that places the community’s needs and priorities first,” Bharathan said.

OptumInsight will be a significant partner in helping HINAz evolve with, and perhaps be ahead of, the rest of the nation in developing a statewide and comprehensive HIE, Dr. Bharathan added.

The Axolotl HIE solution, a standards-based, secure and interoperable platform, will provide the connection capability across disparate health information systems and physician electronic health records (EHRs). The platform will connect all participating HINAz health care providers and existing “HIE ecosystems” within Arizona for electronic exchange of patient data, according to OptumInsight officials.

The HINAz exchange will enable authorized health care providers to automatically access complete clinical information about their patients to determine what medications are prescribed, what X-rays or other tests have been ordered, known allergies and other conditions. Physicians can view this information quickly and easily in the Axolotl Virtual Health Record (VHR). The goal is to reduce medication errors, duplication of tests and improve the quality of care, OptumInsight officials said.

Physicians not already using EHRs can quickly connect to the state exchange using any certified EHR, Axolotl EMR Lite or Axolotl EHR, both certified by the Health and Human Services Department’s Office of National Coordinator Authorized Testing and Certification Body.

Initially, HINAz's main function will be to provide information to emergency departments and urgent care centers so providers can quickly access the patients’ clinical information and provide more educated and timely services. As the use of EHRs increases among clinicians, and trust in the safety and security of HINAz increases, the goal is to be able - with patient consent - to perform additional functions that further the promotion of safe and high-quality care.

Axolotl's SOA platform, community-wide Master Patient Index, EdgeServer, Interoperability Hub, Community Virtual Health Record and EHR solutions, are all provided as software-as-a-service.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

Reader Comments

Thu, Sep 29, 2011 Jeremy Engdahl-Johnson New York, NY

Medical errors research in latest Health Affairs. Society of Actuaries study indicates more than 2 million patient injuries each year. http://www.healthcaretownhall.com/?p=3809

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