Posted by: Louis Kaczmarek, Information Security Officer, Department of Public Health
Everything we do at at the Department of Public Health (DPH) relies on or reuses existing tools, and needless to say those we need to build or buy maximally follow SOA principles. But there is one trend that takes ‘interoperability’ to a whole new level: it’s called the Health Information Exchange (HIE) and Massachusetts is planning one right now. My involvement in this project is as co-chair for the Privacy and Security Ad-hoc Workgroup, working with the Massachusetts e-Health Institute; we make recommendations for them to consider as they make the HIE a reality.
You may have heard or seen how health records at your doctor’s office are increasingly being stored electronically. Sometimes doctors have to share these records to coordinate the best and most efficient care. Such an exchange of records might happen when you go see a specialist outside of your ‘network’ or when you go on a Florida beach vacation, cut your foot on a shell (or worse) and have to get stitched up before returning home. So with the patient’s permission, the HIE’s securely and confidentially moves electronic health records from one doctor to another.
It’s worth mentioning that HIEs are being set up all around the country but whatever we cook up here has to fit with MA laws and society. To ensure that it turns out that way, we’ve solicited views from as many MA-based stakeholders we could think of (plus a few outside of MA). So, if you haven’t already done so let us know what you think; after all this system is for all of us.