Health Information Partnership for Tennessee, the entity responsible for building a statewide health information exchange, is shutting down after the state cancelled its contract in June.

The Tennessee Office of eHealth Initiatives has decided to forgo the HIE and encourage use of the federally developed Direct Project protocols for secure messaging of health information, says Keith Cox, CEO of Health Information Partnership. The Office of eHealth received $11 million in federal stimulus funds for a state HIE and distributed money to the partnership.

The partnership formed in 2009, and in October 2010 selected the Axolotl health information exchange unit of OptumInsight to build the state HIE infrastructure. Cox says vendor performance was satisfactory and to his knowledge did not play into the state’s decision to change directions. A “substantial” amount of the stimulus funds remain, although Cox could not say how much.

The Tennessee Office of eHealth Initiatives did not immediately respond to a request for an interview. The state, with 6.4 million residents, has three regional HIEs--MidSouth eHealth Alliance, Middle Tennessee eHealth Connect and East Tennessee Health Information Network--that were expected to link to the statewide network.

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