State Health Policy Consortium
In April 2010, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) awarded the State Health Policy Consortium (SHPC) contract to RTI International. This project will support states in developing solutions to challenges preventing or impeding efforts to exchange health information across state lines.
ONC was established as a matter of law within the Department of Health and Human Services by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and, specifically, Title XIII, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. ONC was directed by Congress to perform its duties "in a manner consistent with the development of a nationwide health information technology infrastructure that allows for the electronic use and exchange of information."
ARRA funding has made it possible to move ahead aggressively to support state and regional health information technology (HIT) developments by, among other initiatives, financing HIT Regional Extension Centers and the State HIE Cooperative Agreement program.
Opportunity to Request Support Services
On behalf of the ONC, RTI has released a full announcement detailing the Opportunity to Request Support Services through the State Health Policy Consortium project. See the full application and supporting documentation.
Eligible applicants are State HIE Cooperative Agreement Awardees (states and state-designated entities) or entities designated by the State HIT coordinator.
Requests for support services must include proposed activities that include participation from three (3) or more states.
Support Services Priorities
Eligible applicants can submit a summary of their proposed project concept in two pages or less. Project concept summaries must include: 1) a summary of the proposed project activities; 2) desired outcomes; 3) estimated level of support required for execution; and 4) a list of states interested in participating. While the opportunity is open to additional concepts, the following is a list of identified areas of interest for Consortium projects:
- Developing common processes/systems/requirements to track medication abuse
- Developing common procurement requirements or vehicles
- Establishing common requirements and contract language to allow for the reuse of interfaces
Enabling key meaningful use transactions
- Receipt of structured lab results
- Sharing patient care summaries across unaffiliated organizations
- Integrating behavioral health into mainstream health care through health IT
- Integrating behavioral health interstate system(s) into the states EHRs/HIE
- Developing interstate provider directories
It is expected that states requesting this support will compliment current state-based HIE efforts and build upon work conducted previously under the Health Information Security and Privacy Collaboration and the State Alliance for e-Health.
Support Service Guidelines
ONC's contractor, RTI, will provide successful consortium project applicants with support in the form of direct subcontracts or consultant agreements between RTI and these expert individuals or organizations. Subject matter expertise may be drawn from the national experts RTI has retained or from local experts that RTI may retain on behalf of the project. RTI will also pay, in the form of reimbursement or direct payment, for the various other costs of conducting the project, such as travel and web and teleconferencing support.
Support for subject matter expertise depends on the number of project funded, but is expected to average about $250,000 per project.
Previously Funded Consortium Projects
Upper Midwest HIE Consortium (UMHIE)
The UMHIE consortium developed a standard, shared consent form that meets the requirements of all upper Midwest states, and a standard set of policies and procedures for using the form. In addition, they developed appropriate solutions for exchanging consent data electronically, and a framework for developing an interstate consent management solution in the future. Release of the final report is pending.
Southeast Regional HIT-HIE Collaboration (SERCH)
SERCH states—including Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Georgia, Alabama, and Arkansas—looked at the challenges of coordinating multiple state-level HIEs following a disaster. They are currently developing a white paper which discusses the various statutory and technical barriers and provides a number of recommendations to resolve these barriers from a regional perspective. The final set of recommendations outline various technical and legal solutions, as well as a number of actionable steps toward creating the policies and infrastructure necessary to join with emergency management preparedness activities at the state, regional, and national level and promote health information exchange as a key priority in planning for disaster response. Release of the final report is pending.
Behavioral Health Data Exchange Consortium
Representatives from Florida, Michigan, Kentucky, Alabama and New Mexico have joined together to form the Behavioral Health Data Exchange consortium. As part of this project, all states will work together to develop a common set of data exchange procedures and policies that are in compliance with 42 CFR, part 2 (the Federal statute outlining confidentiality requirements for the disclosure of drug and alcohol abuse patient records) as well as the varied state statutes requiring more stringent disclosure rules around the interstate exchange of other behavioral health information such as mental health data. This project is expected to result in pilot interstate exchanges of behavioral health data using the Direct Project protocols and the policies and procedures developed by the consortium.
Western States HIE Consortium
Delegates from Oregon, California, Arizona, Hawaii, Utah, Nevada, Alaska, and New Mexico intend to focus on how state-level provider directories and trust services can be federated at a regional level to promote privacy and security and facilitate interstate exchange. After the initial research on feasibility and policies/procedures has been completed, Oregon and California will implement a proof of concept pilot that will support the solutions agreed upon by the group. Following this proof of concept, other states who have agreed in principle to the components that enabled the pilot will be able to quickly execute and adopt the outcomes of the pilot in each of their states as well.
Interface Library Project
Phase One of the Interface Library Project (ILP) will engage HIEs and the vendor community in a commitment to the reuse of interfaces, documentation, and other assets related to the development of HIE and HIT infrastructure currently funded by federal and state programs, and to work with the vendor and user communities to establish reasonable mechanisms and governance structure for contributing and consuming assets. Phase Two will create a searchable, open source library for HIE interfaces that are developed and purchased as part of the Health Information Exchange activities. The ILP is governed by an executive steering committee (ESC) that includes representatives from Texas, Georgia, Vermont, and Puerto Rico. The ESC provides direction and guidance for the project to ensure that the project's goals are established and implemented.
Consumer Innovations Challenge Grant Project
The purpose of the Challenge is to collaborate with a vanguard group of grantees empowering consumers to be partners in their care by implementing innovative approaches to sharing electronic information with consumers and enabling consumer-mediated exchange through which patients can aggregate, use, and re-share their own information. Under the project, participating states, including Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Montana, and Nebraska, will be planning and executing their various projects. RTI currently provides planning, meeting execution, and coordination support for this project.