Verizon Creates Medical Information Exchange Cloud

Verizon has announced it is getting into the business of health information exchange by using its cloud storage service offering as the platform for sharing information between healthcare providers, no matter the format used to create and store it.

Verizon announced on Wednesday a new cloud-based service offering for healthcare providers that will handle the sharing of patient information electronically between disparate platforms.

The new service, called the Verizon Health Information Exchange , consolidates clinical patient data from various providers and translates it into a standardized format that can then be accessed via a secure Web portal.

Kannan Sreedhar, vice president of Verizon Connected Health Care Solutions, said the service will address interoperability issues currently hindering physicians, hospitals and insurance companies from sharing patient information because of the myriad of applications used to create, and formats being used to store, the data.

"Providing secure access to patient data will enable health care organizations to make a quantum leap forward in the deployment of IT to meet critical business and patient-care issues," he said in a statement.

Users of the service will be able to share data across states and regions, requesting patient data via the Web portal regardless of the IT systems and specific protocols the providers use, Verizon said.

Because the Verizon Health Information Exchange will be delivered via Verizon's cloud computing platform, health care organizations will be able to use their current IT systems, processes and workflows, without large additional capital expenditures, the company stated.

The service charges based on a health provider's patient record volume.

Verizon is using technology from several database, medical application vendors and service providers -- including MEDfx, MedVirginia and Oracle -- to deliver key features of the service, including: clinical dashboard, record locator service, cross- enterprise patient index and secure clinical messaging.

"The ability to dynamically scale technical resources and pay for those used are key benefits of health information exchange platforms hosted in the cloud," Lynne Dunbrack, program director of IDC Health Insights said in a statement.

"Cloud-based platforms will appeal to small to mid-sized organizations looking to shift technology investment from capex to opex and to large regional or statewide initiatives that need to establish connectivity with myriad stakeholders with divergent needs and interoperability requirements," she said.

MedVirginia Inc. , a regional health information exchange (RHIO) located in Richmond, plans to use Verizon's Health Information Exchange service.

Formed in 2000 by a consortium of Virginia health care providers, MedVirginia launched its health information exchange in 2006. Michael Matthews, CEO of of MedVirginia, said the RHIO's needs enhanced functionality, flexibility, performance and scalability.

"The cloud-based Verizon Health Information Exchange meets those requirements," Matthews said.

Verizon said its service meets federal standards for privacy under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and it also complies with requirements under the Nationwide Health Information Network, which is under the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to support the secure exchange of health information over the Internet.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com .

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This story, "Verizon Creates Medical Information Exchange Cloud" was originally published by Computerworld.

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