HIMSS Preview: Looking for HIE Needles in a Haystack

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , February 18, 2014

Some of these HIE systems, such as DirectTrust and SureScripts, are partnering with each other, and as mentioned, some are not. A number of vendors are setting up their own HIE infrastructures. All who are endpoints of health information are considering their options, trying to pick partners, and, if they can afford, placing some side bets.

How Good is EMPI?
Also at HIMSS, you'll hear a relatively new term: HISP, or health information service provider. Some HISPs are also HIEs, and some are not. If they're not, they may be exclusively moving Direct messages from EHR to HER. In other cases, they may be moving other kinds of information, in addition to or instead of Direct data.

All of these HIE building blocks, and many more on display at HIMSS, also rely to a greater or lesser degree on patient identification technology, often based on IBM's Initiate technology. And yet, while enterprise master patient index (EMPI) is pretty good technology, is it good enough?

(For the answer to that question, you might want to attend Overview of Identity Systems and Identity Technologies, a HIMSS pre-conference panel in which I will be participating, on Sunday, February 23 at 10:15am in Room 207C of the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.)

All in all, the complexity of the HIE haystack will make finding the right solutions every CIO's headache this year. At HIMSS, let's keep asking how the many players can make interoperability simpler, not more complex. Talk about a challenge.

Scott Mace is senior technology editor at HealthLeaders Media.
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