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eHealth Exchange HIE Launches Health IT Innovation, Interoperability Grant

The eHealth Exchange health information exchange (HIE) has announced the launch of a grant program for health IT innovation and interoperability.

The eHealth Exchange health information exchange (HIE) has launched a grant program that seeks to award up to $550,000 to industry stakeholders that are advancing interoperability through health IT innovation.

Applicants for the eHealth Exchange Innovation Grant are encouraged to submit proposals that might enhance data exchange through HL7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) or other eHealth Exchange technical specifications.

“We’ve reached a tipping point as a health network and as a nation,” Jay Nakashima, eHealth Exchange executive director, said in a public statement. “We’ve implemented the infrastructure for secure electronic health information exchange and achieved an impressive level of comfort and expectation for certain types of exchange. But as a country, we can do much more to improve patient care.”

“The eHealth Exchange sees so much potential to leverage the existing connectivity to improve the patient and provider experience, as well as to enhance health outcomes,” Nakashima continued.

All proposals should provide project implementation, testing, and production details.

Grant awardees will be responsible for producing a project implementation guide for members of the eHealth community.

Grantees will receive a credit for eHealth Exchange participation fees previously paid in 2021, if any. Winners may also have fees waived in 2022, if the solution is fully operational in production.

The non-profit health information network plans to perform technical coordination and testing throughout the project.

The grant program is open to eHealth Exchange participants and any eHealth Exchange eligible applicants. Organizations may team up on a project.

The HIE expects to give out three health IT innovation awards totaling as much as $100,000 in the form of a milestone driven grant for one year, representatives said.

eHealth Exchange is the nation’s largest HIE, connecting 75 percent of all US hospitals, over 60 regional or state HIEs, and four government agencies, including Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Defense (DoD).

A recent KLAS First Look report found that eHealth Exchange customers are generally satisfied with the HIE’s ability to share data across state and regional HIEs and public health agencies.  

Sixty-seven percent of respondents said they were highly satisfied with the HIE overall, and 28 percent said they were satisfied. Meanwhile, only 5 percent of eHealth Exchange customers reported dissatisfaction with the HIE.

Although a few respondents reported a lack of consistent support and platform navigation, all respondents said they would purchase the product again in the future.

Following integration, 46 percent of respondents said they saw immediate results and an equal percentage saw results within six months. Less than 10 percent said they saw results between six and 12 months.

When it comes to connectivity, 92 percent of respondents said they could connect with VA and DoD, 69 percent said they could connect with the Social Security Administration (SSA), and 69 percent reported connectivity with 60 state and regional HIEs. In comparison, only 38 percent of respondents reported connectivity with public health agencies, and 23 percent said they could connect with the Indian Health Service (IHS).  

The respondents reported several strengths, but most agreed that interoperability, especially with SSA and VA connections, was most beneficial. Customers also reported seeing value with the organization and most said the HIE works as well as expected and promoted.

“We wanted to be able to exchange the information and utilize the system to exchange with our state reporting agency,” an anonymous manager told KLAS. “The system allows us to do that work easily and successfully. With the SSA, we have been hugely successful with our information exchange. There is a fast turnaround on the disability claims because the SSA can electronically obtain the information from us quickly.”

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