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Missouri announces opening of state HIE

More than 7,000 physicians, 62 hospitals and 350 clinics in Missouri and neighboring states will have access to its newly opened statewide HIE. The announcement, made by the Missouri Health Connection (MHC), details the state’s vendor-neutral approach to data exchange, which allows physicians to view patient data in any ONC meaningful use certified EHR system. Missouri’s HIE will also give physicians access to health information from surrounding states and the national health information network.

“The work being done by Missouri Health Connection will enable Missouri providers to access health information securely and appropriately and be able to collaborate to improve the quality and affordability of healthcare in the state,” said Christopher Muir, state HIE program manager at ONC, in the MHC’s release.

MHC currently processes more than 250,000 patient data transactions daily. The MHC network has provided services so far to 45% of inpatients in the state, so they have work to do to meet their goal of serving all acute and ambulatory care providers.

Facilities are still latching on to Missouri’s HIE. St. Anthony’s Medical Center in St. Louis is the most recent member, joining up a few weeks ago. Last month, Berlin, Md.-based Atlantic General Hospital joined Delaware’s HIE, becoming the first acute-care U.S. hospital to join an out-of-state HIE. It remains to be seen whether other facilities will follow suit and connect with other states’ networks. For now, HIEs have more immediate concerns.

Some prognosticators foresee trouble for state-run HIEs as soon as next year, when the government slows grant funding. A more optimistic long-term picture of state HIEs predicts that this early round of state-run exchanges will pave the way for future success, even if they transition to privately-operated enterprises.

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