EHNAC and the Texas Health Services Authority Partner to Develop Accreditation Standards for Health Information Exchange (HIE) Organizations Operating in the State of Texas

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FARMINGTON, Conn. and AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 16, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC), a non-profit standards development organization and the Texas Health Services Authority (THSA) today announced a partnership to develop a state accreditation program for public and private HIE organizations operating in Texas. HIE is the secure electronic exchange of patient personal health information between treating physicians, hospitals, health care payers, and other health care providers involved in the care of the patient. The accreditation program is being designed to improve HIE coverage and interoperability for all Texans and to provide a mechanism to establish trust in HIE.



The program will certify qualified HIE applicants within the state of Texas to ensure they are operating under accepted and uniform standards in the handling of protected health information (PHI). Once the program is developed, EHNAC and THSA will review technical performance, business processes, resource management and other relevant information to ensure that accredited HIEs within Texas are interoperable with state and federal programs, and provide the private, secure and proper exchange of health information in accordance with established laws and public policy.

"The state of Texas is a true innovator in driving interoperability and protecting the privacy and security of patient data through both public and private HIEs," said Lee Barrett, executive director, EHNAC. "We are pleased to have been selected to collaborate with THSA on the development of this program. We applaud the THSA for its commitment to connecting Texans and enhancing care by ensuring the secure exchange of health information across the state."

Over the next three months, the THSA will work with EHNAC to collaboratively develop the program based on existing criteria and processes from EHNAC's Health Information Exchange Accreditation Program (HIEAP), while ensuring that it is customized to meet state requirements. The program's criteria categories will include the review of organizational, operational, technical, and privacy and security policies and procedures. To the extent appropriate and consistent with the aims of the program, EHNAC and THSA will align the program with Texas law and relevant guidance from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), including the ONC's Governance Framework for Trusted Health Information Exchanges.

"Given EHNAC's leading role in the assessment and accreditation of compliance with multiple health information protection regulations and best practices through EHNAC's many accreditation programs, I am very confident in our choice to work with EHNAC on this important project," said Tony Gilman, chief executive officer, THSA. "Increasing market confidence in organizations involved in exchanging and maintaining electronic health information through regular assessments is one way to support greater participation in and ultimately sustainability of HIE efforts in Texas and across the US."

Similar to other EHNAC accreditation programs, the THSA and EHNAC will jointly publish the proposed program for public review and comment, following approval of the draft program by EHNAC and THSA. Once the state-wide HIE accreditation program is established, executives from both organizations will participate in a public webinar in which staff will describe the program and key criteria to all stakeholders. The program's formal launch is expected in Q3 2014.

About EHNAC

The Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC) is a voluntary, self-governing standards development organization (SDO) established to develop standard criteria and accredit organizations that electronically exchange health care data. These entities include e-prescribing and EPCS solution providers, electronic health networks, financial services firms, health information exchanges, health information service providers, medical billers, third-party administrators, management service organizations, outsourced service providers, payers and vendors.

EHNAC was founded in 1993 and is a tax-exempt 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization. Guided by peer evaluation, the EHNAC accreditation process promotes quality service, innovation, cooperation and open competition in healthcare. To learn more, visit www.ehnac.org, contact info@ehnac.org, or follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

About THSA

The Texas Health Services Authority (THSA) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2007 as a public-private partnership, legally structured as a non-profit corporation, to support the improvement of the Texas health care system by promoting and coordinating HIE and health information technology (HIT) throughout the state to ensure that the right information is available to the right health care providers at the right times. For more information, visit www.HIETexas.org.

CONTACT: Press contact information: Dave Anderson, Anderson Interactive Marcom, 678-401-2991 dave@andersoninteractivemarcom.com Debra Hopkinson, EHNAC, 860-408-1620 dhopkinson@ehnac.org Tony Gilman, THSA, 512-814-0321 tony.gilman@thsa.org

Source: EHNAC