The Texas Health Services Authority is establishing a program that will require health information exchanges in the state to receive accreditation for meeting best practices.

THSA is a public-private partnership to advance health information exchange in Texas. It will use the criteria and processes of the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission’s HIE accreditation program. Industry sponsored EHNAC operates about 15 different transactions processing accreditation programs.

This is the second Texas Health Services Authority initiative in a week to prod Texas HIEs to adopt best practices. THSA on October 9 announced it will partner with health industry consortium HITRUST to create a voluntary HIPAA Covered Entity Privacy and Security Certification Program. Texas has 12 public-funded local HIEs and a private HIE with Fort Worth with more private HIEs expected to emerge.

The new program with EHNAC “will accredit qualified HIE applicants within the state of Texas to ensure they are operating under accepted and uniform standards in the handling of protected health information,” according to a statement from the organizations. “Once the program is developed, EHNAC and THSA will review technical performance, business processes, resource management and other relevant information to ensure that accredited HIEs within Texas are interoperable with state and federal programs, and provide the private, secure and proper exchange of health information in accordance with established laws and public policy.”

THSA and EHNAC will publish the proposed program for public review and comment. Once the program is established, they will host a public Web seminar to explain the HIE accreditation program and its criteria. Launch of the program is expected in the third quarter of 2014.

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