SC Medical Association picks Kansas vendor for HIE, analytics

Insurer subsidary’s platform could serve as model for other states, says Gregory Tarasidis.

The South Carolina Medical Association will roll out an analytics and health information exchange platform for its members, with big plans to offer that information exchange platform to other physicians and hospitals across the nation.

The association further hopes to network with other medical societies and offer them the platform, says Gregory Tarasidis, an ear, nose and throat specialist in Greenwood, S.C., and lead physician on the project. “It would be easier to branch out in other states; why rebuild the infrastructure?”

Vendor for the project is KaMMCO Health Solutions, a health information exchange vendor subsidiary of the Kansas Medical Mutual Insurance Company. The costs for SCMA members and other clinicians to use the platform have not yet been finalized. Physician offices and hospitals would pay to have an interface built within their electronic health records system to link with the health information exchange.

KaMMCO Health Solutions is projected to provide the HIE infrastructure through proprietary interfaces with EHR vendors; the data from each facility is maintained in data vaults that are unique to each member. Information is exchanged via secure Direct messaging, and the vendor says the approach provides real-time access to a longitudinal record for each patient that is available through a web-based portal or via the interface embedded into providers’ EHR systems.

SCMA found it difficult to find the right vendor until being referred to KaMMCO, according to Tarasidis. “Quite frankly, it was a very simple ‘aha’ moment; they figured it out.”

While physicians will access the platform to communicate with other providers, they won’t be doing analytics themselves, as the association outsourced that service to KaMMCO, which will conduct analyses upon request. Costs for the analytics services have not yet been finalized.

In short, the platform “will allow doctors to communicate across EHRs, which is the dream of what we all hope EHRs can be,” Tarasidis says.

The project remains in the early stages of development; an operational agreement on how it will all work is near completion, and while pricing has not been nailed down, “we don’t want price obstacles to [prevent] anyone [from] signing up,” Tarasidis says. The biggest hurdle, he acknowledges, may be convincing colleagues in other societies and healthcare systems to jump on board.

His pitch to join: “A lot of doctors have been frustrated working with EHRs day-to-day, and this will allow EHRs to work at their full capabilities. My day-to-day life will be better.”

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