Secure Messaging & HIE in the Long-Term Care Market

In an effort to keep our customers apprised of the latest technology trends in the pharmacy market, our industry experts compiled an article for the May/June edition of ComputerTalk. In case you missed the article, here it is in its entirety:

In Long-Term Care Pharmacy, Direct Secure Messaging and Health Information Exchange (HIE) are rapidly emerging technologies.  As participants in the U.S. healthcare system, each time we visit a health care provider, pharmacy, or community service provider, data is created about details of the encounter. Until now, this information was held by each provider independently. With HIE, all this information can be aggregated into one continuity of care document (CCD) and securely sent between providers and patients.

Direct Secure Messaging in combination with HIE technology will enable:

  • Private and secure patient communication and information
  • Improved quality, safety, efficiency, and reduced health disparities
  • Improved care coordination, and population health management

Enablement and Engagement:

Fundamentally, the impact of Direct and HIEs is much broader than simple connectivity. The electronic sharing of health information aids in the management of data exchanged, and strives to reduce duplication of services and operational costs.

HIE technology will enable an individual to establish a defined care team and utilize real-time, event-driven, bi-directional communication. Members of the care team, including the institutional pharmacy, can receive real-time notifications of events including: life events, change in condition, medication errors, transitions, facility changes, adverse reactions, illness, hospitalization, behavior change, and more. This enables the LTC pharmacist to play a significant consultative role in each patient’s polypharmacy while still managing the dispensing workflow.

Traditionally in Long-Term Care, transport of patient records has been done by fax or courier service. With HIE and Direct Secure Messaging, patients can move seamlessly from a hospital to a facility, with the discharge notice sent securely, via Direct Messaging, over the public internet. That discharge notice could contain the patient diagnosis, medical history, and all documentation needed, in one message.

Benefits for the LTC Pharmacy:

  • Savings through the elimination of phone lines and fax services
  • Secure email transport for:
    • Patient record updates, order clarifications, Refill Too Soons, insurance information, approvals, medication authorizations, therapeutic interchanges, and more
  • Improved workflow with:
    • Compliant use of email platforms such as Outlook with a Direct email address
    • Standardized continuity of care documents
    • Real-time notifications during transitions of care, life events, and health status changes
    • Consolidated content and information management in one central repository
  • Potential savings opportunities:
    • 90/10 Innovation Pool: Reimbursement up to 90% for innovation not funded through Meaningful Use
    • State Innovation Model (SIM funds): For pilot programs to implement new technologies
    • New revenue through consulting and medication therapy management (MTM) programs.
    • Talk to your technology lender or Medicaid Director to understand options.

How to get started:

Pharmacies should talk to their clients, payers, and physicians that are servicing their patients. Many of these may already have Secure Messaging in place via Direct. With 1.5 million addresses already certified, the participating pool is growing rapidly.

The basic entry point for Institutional Pharmacies is the set-up of Direct Secure Messaging. Once you have certified Direct email addresses, you can take the next step in tapping into the growing network. Talk to your technology providers today to learn more about Direct and HIE, and to ensure they are moving their technologies along this critical path.

Related Terms:

Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) will become the infrastructure and vehicle for data sharing among provider practices and health systems through the Nationwide Health Information Network (NwHIN).

Health Information Service Provider (HISPs) are organizations that manage the security and exchange of protected health information and provides Direct email addresses to registered users.

Direct is a national encryption standard for securely exchanging healthcare data via the Internet. Also known as the Direct Project, Direct Exchange, and Direct Secure Messaging, it specifies the secure, scalable, and standards-based method for the exchange of Protected Health Information (PHI).