Washington State to implement Health Information Exchange (HIE)

For Immediate Release: 12/14/2010
Contact: Heather Masters 360-923-2937

A federal stimulus program to improve health care outcomes for Washingtonians

OLYMPIA – The Health Care Authority (HCA) today announced it has the approval of the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology to begin the implementation phase of the State Health Information Exchange (HIE) Cooperative Agreement.

“This is a major accomplishment for improved patient care in Washington,” said Richard Onizuka, State Government Health Information Technology Coordinator and HCA’s Health Policy Director. “We’ve been working with ONC since July to finalize our statewide HIE plans and get funding released for implementation,” said Onizuka.

In February 2010, the Health Care Authority announced the $11.3 million award from the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The State HIE Cooperative Agreement program was established to develop a nationwide health IT infrastructure, and provide funding to states to establish and implement statewide HIE networks. The ONC initially released $1 million of the award for research and planning necessary to develop the strategic and operational plan for statewide secure health information exchange.

OneHealthPort, Washington State’s HIE Lead Organization and sub-recipient of the State HIE Cooperative Agreement award, collaborated with HCA to develop the HIE strategic and operational plans to ensure the plans met ONC’s governance, financial, technical, operational and policy requirements.

“I’m pleased to be moving forward with implementation,” said Rick Rubin, CEO of OneHealthPort. “Putting lowcost, accessible and secure information exchange in place will assist Washington State health care organizations to better coordinate patient care and improve overall community health.”

Washington State has been working for years to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs. The inability to easily share health information between and among health organizations has been one of the main barriers to progress. Because patient information is fragmented across hundreds of enterprises, it is difficult for any one enterprise to significantly improve their performance without engaging other health care organizations.

For more information, visit HIE web pages at HCA and OneHealthPort.