First phase of e-consent project completed

One sticking point when it comes to building HIE’s is patient consent.

For example, it matters whether a system is patient opt-in or patient opt-out because any potentially linking system has to navigate those protocols.

To add to the complexity, patients need to have a good understanding of how to grant, or withhold, consent for other providers to have access to their personal health information.

With the goal of sorting through the range of hurdles, ONC last fall awarded a $1.24 million contract to APP Design Inc. of Itasca, Ill., to develop and evaluate methods to electronically obtain from patients their consent about sharing their health data. This week, the company announced that it has completed the patient consent phase (Phase 1) of its project at Western New York’s HIE, HEALTHeLINK.

The program is taking place at four provider sites within HEALTHeLINK and is using its administrative transaction network, HEALTHeNET. The network is powered by APP Design’s RHIOnet solution, a secure, web-based, HIE system designed to deliver accurate and timely healthcare data to caregivers distributed across wide geographical areas. Using the company’s Story Engine solution along with RHIOnet as a platform for the pilot, the project also involves educational features and provides feedback for future applications through a survey.

According to Robert Quinn, President of APP Design, “This initial phase is important in building the foundation of the project while streamlining the workflow for the administrators of HEALTHeLINK. Our goal is to assist HEALTHeLINK and other HIEs in being sustainable by becoming a community portal for administrative services in addition to the transfer of clinical information.”

Through this first phase, if a user is registered with both HEALTHeLINK and HEALTHeNET, he or she will be able to manage the consent process from the HEALTHeNET website. When a user with access runs an eligibility and benefits transaction on HEALTHeNET, a second transaction will run behind the scenes on the HEALTHeLINK site searching for consent. If consent is found, a link will appear to show whether or not a signed consent is on file. If not, a user can access and complete the HEALTHeLINK process from this screen.

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