Tuesday, November 24, 2009

WVHIN Releases RFP for West Virginia Health Information Exchange

Today the West Virginia Health Information Network released a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a statewide Health Information Exchange. More information, including the deadlines, bidder worksheets and a full copy of the RFP are available on the WVHIN website.

Following are sections from the RFP that provide a general overview of the proposed West Virginia Health Information Exchange and a general scope of the RFP:
The West Virginia Health Information Network (WVHIN) is soliciting proposals to provide a statewide Health Information Exchange (HIE) infrastructure platform for physicians, hospitals, other health care organizations, and consumers. The purpose of this Request for Proposal (RFP) is to obtain vendor services and expertise in support of the WVHIN. Details on the scope of work, requirements and deliverables are contained in this RFP. WVHIN reserves the right to use the results of this RFP to obtain services for additional and related work should the need arise throughout the course of this project . . .

. . . According to the eHealth Initiative’s Sixth Annual Survey of Health Information Exchange 2009, there are almost 200 self‐reported HIE initiatives across the country with a substantially increased number of organizations that reported being operational. The impetus for HIEs has increased as a result of the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 and specifically key provisions from the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. These provisions called for the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) to create a program to engage in collaborative agreements with states or “qualified” state‐designated non‐profit, multistakeholder partnerships to “conduct activities to facilitate and expand the electronic movement and use of health information among organizations according to nationally recognized standards.” . . .

. . . There are 1.8 million people in the very rural state of West Virginia with a high level of elderly and low‐income people in many of the rural areas. With a geographically dispersed population, access to and coordination of care is a critical issue. To serve this rural population, there is a relatively high number of hospitals with less than 100 beds and a high level of clinics serving the underserved making access and care coordination both difficult and essential. Based on the population profile and the number of small providers, a strong case was made for the need for a statewide HIE, which will help providers overcome communication and geographic barriers to access and coordination of care.

The WVHIN was established in July 2006 by the West Virginia Legislature at the request of the Governor. The WVHIN is a sub‐agency under the West Virginia Health Care Authority. The intent of the legislation was for the WVHIN “to promote the design, implementation, operation and maintenance of a fully interoperable statewide network to facilitate public and private use of health care information in the state”. With this authority, the WVHIN established a multi‐stakeholder board and has been working with stakeholders to develop and implement a state‐level HIE. . .

. . . With this mandate, the WVHIN established a vision to enable “high quality, patient centered care facilitated by health information technology”. The WVHIN mission is as follows: “The West Virginia Health Information Network provides the health care community a trusted, integrated and seamless electronic structure enabling medical data exchange necessary for high quality, patient‐centered care.” Guiding principles have been established around collaboration, facilitation of patient‐centric care, enabled participation by all providers, quality improvement, patient participation, privacy and security, and sustainability.

The WVHIN, along with health systems, physicians, other providers, payers, and consumers, has a unique opportunity to establish a state‐level HIE infrastructure that helps communities and regions share data across organizations. The WVHIN is well positioned to provide a cost‐effective HIE infrastructure that benefits from economies of scale while enabling communities to develop their own unique solutions. As a convener and collaborator, the WVHIN will build bridges between health care stakeholders to launch and fund HIEs. It will help communities address complex issues such as setting standards for interoperable data exchange, addressing liability, setting policies for privacy and security, and exchanging data across state lines. It will collaborate with other health information technology (HIT) and HIE initiatives such as the Regional Extension Center (REC) to be initiated, public health, Medicaid, and others, to leverage collective resources. WVHIN activities are being pursued within the parameters of the West Virginia Statewide Health Information Technology Strategic Plan. WVHIN is one of several participating entities that jointly developed the strategic plan.

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