Nationwide HIE Corrals 500 Hospitals, 4,000 Practices

Ken Terry | Information Week | February 9, 2012

More than 500 hospitals and 4,000 physician practices and clinics are participating in the Nationwide Health Information Network (NwHIN) exchange, according to Lauren Thompson, program director of the Federal Health Architecture (FHA) program in the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).

In an exclusive interview with InformationWeek Healthcare, Thompson noted that most of those hospitals are involved in one of two government programs. First, the Virtual Electronic Lifetime Record (VLER) program of the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has launched a pilot at 11 VA medical centers across the country. In that test, the two departments' health facilities are using the NwHIN exchange to connect to each other and to private healthcare providers that treat military personnel and veterans.

That program includes the majority of hospitals on the NwHIN exchange, Thompson said. Fewer hospitals, she noted, are engaged in a Social Security Administration (SSA) program that uses the NwHIN exchange to expedite the determination of eligibility for disability benefits. As part of this process, providers must review applicants' medical records and then send this information to the SSA. The department has found that using the NwHIN exchange speeds up this process by 45 percent, according to Thompson...