HIEs connect, half a continent apart

Two of the nation's largest health information exchanges (HIEs) are now exchanging Direct messages across state borders, officials announced March 19.

The Delaware Health Information Network (DHIN) and the Kansas Health Information Network (KHIN) have successfully facilitated the secure exchange of patient records between each organization via the federal healthcare email system.

Both HIEs tapped the AlliedHIE Company and ICA for messaging capabilities.

The Direct Project provides HIPAA-compliant national infrastructure and interoperability through certified HISPs, enabling healthcare professionals and providers to affordably and securely send clinical messages, hospital discharge summaries, radiology reports, lab results, immunization reports, continuity-of-care documents and a variety of additional critical patient information.

"We are very pleased to validate national interoperability with KHIN and the Kansas medical community through Direct messaging," said Jan Lee, MD, executive director of DHIN in a statement. "Our two dynamic states have business leaders, families, students and vacationers visiting each state and now we can quickly, confidently and securely exchange medical information when medical need warrants the same.

"With our core HIE transactions approaching one million a month, Delaware remains committed to helping advance national interoperability and the Direct Project. It's an important next step," Lee added.

"What is exciting about this connection is that patients no longer have to be concerned that their important medical records may not be available when they travel across the country," said Laura McCrary, executive director of KHIN in a news release. "By electronically sharing secure messages between KHIN and DHIN, we have established the foundation for a new standard in patient care where critical health information is available electronically wherever our patients seek care."

According to McCrary, KHIN is sharing health information across 30 Kansas healthcare systems with more than 3,000 medical professionals making use of the Direct messaging platform.

Earlier this year, KHIN announced it was securely exchanging Direct messages with the Nebraska Health Information Initiative and the Missouri Health Connection.