News Feature | August 25, 2014

Baylor Medical School Links With Houston HIE

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Baylor Medical School HIE

This new partnership is creating what may be the largest state HIE in the nation.

In what officials anticipate will become one of the largest state health information exchanges in the country, the Houston-based Healthconnect has just signed on its next big name member. Baylor College of Medicine has joined Greater Houston Healthconnect, the regional health information exchange for the Houston area.

Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas, CHRISTUS Health of Southeast Texas and Harris Health System are already contributing and exchanging patient data via the HIE.

Baylor, which utilizes the Epic electronic health records system, will utilize Healthconnect’s Direct Messaging services to securely communicate with patients using HIPAA-compliant email regarding test results, referral information and follow-up care instructions.

“The Baylor faculty are committed to advancing standards of patient care utilizing all available and emerging technologies to accomplish that goal," said Jeffrey Steinbauer, M.D., the college's CMIO. "The use of Direct Messaging to securely transmit clinical information to referring physicians and patients themselves represents just the tip of the iceberg with respect to the way we envision integrating health information technologies into our practice and instruction in the near future. We intend to prepare future generations of physicians who will emerge better able to practice medicine in a new era of smart information technology.”

In addition to offering Direct Messaging services, Healthconnect membership also includes a community health record and secure image sharing. Founded in 2010, Healthconnect is a neutral convener of patient records among the more than 130 hospitals and 16,000 physicians practicing in southeast Texas. The community health record portal allows authorized physicians to access a lifelong patient record including information from past episodes of care, test results, diagnoses and procedures, irrespective of where that care was received. To date, Healthconnect had connected over 906,771 patient records through its federated model of health information exchange.

Tim Tindle, Healthconnect board member and CFO at the Harris Health System, welcomed Baylor College of Medicine to the growing exchange, stating, “We are very pleased that Baylor has joined the network. As a leading medical school, their contributions to the development of this network will be invaluable. Baylor faculty will play an important role as we refine the way the network can best be leveraged to advance patient care and make clinical practice more efficient.”

Greater Houston Healthconnect is an independent, community-based organization responsible for enabling information exchange among healthcare providers in a 20-county region, tasked with mobilizing healthcare information electronically across organizations to enhance the safety, quality, and efficiency of care and improve information access throughout the region.