DOH Launches Territory’s First Health Information Exchange Open House to Showcase the Virgin Islands Health Information Exchange Network

By Caribbean Medical News Staff

Health Commissioner Darice Plaskett announced the official launch of the territory’s first Health Information Exchange network, known as the Virgin Islands Health Information Network (VIHIN).

“The launch of the Virgin Islands Health Information Exchange – which should not be confused with a health insurance exchange – will literally transform the healthcare system, bringing us closer to our goals of a healthy Virgin Islands through enhanced communication and coordination of care to best serve residents in terms of better quality, better outcomes, better cost-effectiveness and ultimately better health status.” Plaskett said.

Several healthcare providers have already registered for the Health Information Exchange network, a secure electronic network that enables healthcare providers – hospitals, health centers, clinics, pharmacies, labs and other medical professionals – to exchange health information for consultations, referrals, sharing and reporting.

VIHIN is spearheaded by the Health Information Technology Division of the Department of Health and Secure Exchange Solutions, a certified Health Information Service Provider that is providing the Direct Exchange Solution, a national standard for the secure exchange of healthcare information. Dan Kazzaz, CEO of Secure Exchange Solutions, said “with Direct, Virgin Islands providers can now exchange healthcare information faster, optimize both transitions of care and referrals, and lower operating costs.”

One million dollars was awarded to the Virgin Islands by the Office of national Coordinators (ONC) to help facilitate a territory-wide Health Information Exchange (HIE). This award enabled DOH to take a leadership role in achieving HIE in the territory, developing governance structures, technical services and capabilities, and policies required to support the infrastructure necessary to the meaningful use of Electronic Health Records by providers through information exchange.

Governor de Jongh welcomed the official launch, saying “I extremely excited by this opportunity to participate on the front lines of our nation’s health care technology transformation, and pleased that the Department of Health has continued to take a leadership role in that effort. These projects, along with the Broadband Initiative currently underway to provide robust, high-speed internet access capability across the territory, will help us establish a world-class health information environment in the U.S. Virgin Islands, to the benefit of the entire territory.” Establishment of a territory level HIE is a critical step towards the goal of a nation-wide interoperable, private and secure electronic health information system.

The resulting ability of all providers in the Territory to exchange health records electronically will help modernize our health care system, improve its efficiency, and improve the quality of care for everyone in the Territory, and he added, “I want to thank DOH staff and Secure Exchange Solutions for their hard work to make the Virgin Islands Health Information Exchange a reality”

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