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Louisville Health Information Exchange Taps 3M to Build Health Record Bank

Known as LouHIE, the Louisville initiative will differ from other health information exchanges in that consumers will control what parts of their personal health information will be shared with which parties.

Louisville Health Information Exchange (LouHIE, Louisville, Ky.) has chosen 3M Health Information Systems (Murray, Utah) as its technical partner to build the non-profit's eponymous centralized health record banking system. 3M and its partner, InterComponentWare, Inc. (ICW; Walldorf, Germany), will design, build, and pilot an integrated health information network that will offer free health record banking services to all 1.2 million citizens in the greater Louisville community. The parties are yet to negotiate a definitive agreement.

LouHIE differs from many health information exchanges (HIEs) in that consumers will control what parts of their personal health information will be shared with which parties, Sheila Andersen, chairperson of the LouHIE board of directors, tells I&T. "Some other HIE's only bring together parties such as physicians and hospitals to decide what information to include," she explains. "This is different in that consumers control what information goes into the repository and how it is shared."

"We also have a broad stakeholder base that puts members on our board of directors and gets everybody at the table," Andersen adds. "We have representation from 12 committees, one of which is health insurers. We want to make sure that this is something of value to them."

Once implemented, the LouHIE initiative will enable consumers to store and manage their patient data in a private and secure personal health record bank, according to a 3M source. Each bank account will contain an electronic copy of an individual's health records, consolidated from the various clinics, hospitals, and physician practices where the individual received care. Each individual will control his/her health record bank information and will be able to choose to make the complete record available to providers at healthcare facilities in the greater Louisville area or access their own record via the internet.

The Health Record Banking Alliance (HRBA; Arlington, Va.), a national non-profit dedicated to promoting community repositories for electronic health information, advocates a centralized model along the lines of LouHIE. "Health record banks, where patients control access to their health records stored in a secure repository, are a feasible and sustainable approach to successfully delivering comprehensive electronic patient information to any point of care in communities such as Louisville," comments William A. Yasnoff, MD, PhD, chairman and CEO of the HRBA.

The LouHIE initiative is supported by health insurer partners, such as Humana (Louisville; $29 billion in annual revenue), which have been participants in the initiative since the beginning, according to Jana Meek, director of integrated provider services, Humana, and a board member of LouHIE. Humana has sponsored community research for the initiative and serves as an advisor on technology solutions. "We strongly believe that our members that LouHIE would touch in this region would benefit by the ability of providers sharing data about them in a secure fashion," Meek comments.

Among the benefits of LouHIE to Humana—and by extension, those of centralized health record banks to all health insurance carriers—are the increase in e-prescription and electronic transmission of electronic records to reduce duplication in medical tests and adverse drug interactions, according to Meek. "By making medical data more visible to more people I believe we'll see less fraud, waste and abuse of the system," she adds.

For the LouHIE initiative, 3M says that it will deliver what it calls a highly scalable, interoperable system that includes the 3M Clinical Data Repository, 3M Enterprise Master Person Index, and 3M Healthcare Data Dictionary. ICW will provide the interoperability layer, consumer/physician portal with the ICW Professional Suite, and the personal health record, LifeSensor, according to 3M.

"The advanced technology provided by 3M and ICW makes it possible to achieve the highest level of data interoperability, which is essential to translating and consolidating patient information from diverse computer systems and healthcare facilities into a central health record bank," says LouHIE's Andersen. "It also allows a high degree of patient privacy and information security, which are two of our top priorities."

LouHIE is currently revising the initiative's timeline, according to Andersen, who says the organization hopes to see the pilot completed by the end of the year. "By the end of 2010 we hope to have it fully implemented," she adds.

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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