Health Information Exchange Featured Article

December 29, 2011

Greater Houston Health Information Exchange Successfully Exchanges Clinical Information Securely over Direct Project Protocol Service

The Greater Houston Health Information Exchange, the organization responsible for supporting exchange of information between healthcare providers within the Greater Houston area, is now operational. In its announcement, the organization said that two physician groups exchanged clinical information in a secure manner over the Direct Project Protocol service from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

Both these organizations are among the first to have successfully utilized GHHIE’s secure and electronic infrastructure. Beginning January 2012, these services will be offered by GHHIE to all participating healthcare providers within the Greater Houston area.

Sometime in mid-December, Northwest Diagnostic Clinic, P.A., and Digestive & Liver Disease Consultants, P.A., started the exchange of clinical messages securely. This has resulted in enhanced communication timeliness for both parties involved without any increase in administrative costs.

GHHIE, which was founded by the Harris County Healthcare Alliance and the Center for Houston's Future as a collaborative health information exchange, has been focussing on the development of an infrastructure offering capable of supporting electronically enabled connections between healthcare and wellness providers. The GHHIE infrastructure will allow users access to patient information which will help in enhancing continuity of patient care.

Northwest Diagnostic Clinic serves families in Houston via a network of clinics located across Cypress Station Drive in the FM 1960 area, as well as in The Woodlands, and near the Texas Medical Center. Digestive & Liver Disease Consultants, serving patients in Northwest Houston, has successfully digitized its operations which include patient medical records. The consultants are also among the first practices which has successfully transformed itself into a paperless office.

In a release, Dr. Guru N. Reddy, founder of Digestive & Liver Consultants, P.A. and president of the Harris County Medical Society, said, "Using GHHIE's electronic network, we will be able to better facilitate patient care. The fast, secure, and accurate exchange of information facilitated by the GHHIE provides a tangible benefit, both for us as caregivers and for our patients."

Calvin Azuri is a contributing editor for HealthTechZone. To read more of Calvin’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves