Four years after legislation paved the way for a massive health information exchange serving up to 89 hospitals in the greater Chicago region, the first wave of facilities will start hooking up in January.

Thirty-four hospitals are preparing to go live on the MetroChicago HIE with the first ones on board during the first quarter of 2014, says Daniel Yunker, CEO of Land of Lincoln Mutual Health Insurance Company and senior vice president of the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council, which leads the HIE effort. Initial services, live by the end of the quarter, will include admissions/discharge/transfer document exchange, Direct Project secure messaging, a master patient index and record locator. These initial services are achievable for the first 34 hospitals and are sufficient to provide value in the first phase of the HIE, Yunker adds.

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