WISHIN's eNewsletter
Welcome to WISHIN Connections, the monthly e-Newsletter for the Wisconsin Statewide Health Information Network (WISHIN).  We will keep you up to date with WISHIN activities, news on health information exchange (HIE) and new product developments.

WISHIN Aligned with National Vision and Plan for HIT and HIE


This month the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released a statement outlining its ten-year vision for achieving an interoperable health information technology infrastructure for the nation.  In summary, the vision is for "an interoperable health information technology (HIT) ecosystem that makes the right data available to the right people at the right time across products and organizations in a way that can be relied upon and meaningfully used by recipients."    


ONC acknowledges that today many providers and organizations still restrict information exchange for a variety of reasons:


"Despite significant progress in establishing standards and services to support health information exchange and interoperability, it is not the norm that electronic health information is shared beyond groups of health care providers who subscribe to specific services or organizations. This frequently means that patients' electronic health information is not shared across organizational, vendor and geographic boundaries."


The ONC vision also demands networked modes of information exchange. "This means focusing on query-based health information exchange, or the ability to appropriately search for and retrieve health information, in addition to point-to-point information sharing."


If your organization is participating in WISHIN Pulse you are already on the path to achieving ONC's vision for query-based exchange and are well on your way to breaking down the organizational and vendor boundaries that serve as barriers to the HIT ecosystem.   WISHIN Pulse, WISHIN's community health record product, allows patients' critical health information to follow them wherever they seek care.  Pulse receives health information from participating providers in real time.  If Pulse receives records from multiple providers about the same patient, the records are linked in the system.  When providers treat patients, they can then query Pulse using only a patient name and are presented with an aggregated summary view of all records that have been shared with Pulse (see a video demonstration of WISHIN Pulse).   


In less than two years, WISHIN Pulse has seen substantial adoption statewide.  This is no surprise since Wisconsin has often been held up as leader when it comes to health care innovation.  Many Wisconsin providers have embraced HIT - including health information exchange.  There are currently more than 740 sites of care (hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, etc.) in Wisconsin that are either actively sharing health information or are in the process of connecting to WISHIN Pulse (see a full list of Pulse participants). 


WISHIN Pulse is a strong base from which to build - especially for Wisconsin - but provider and organizational adoption of HIE is still an issue.   Reluctance to adopt HIE stems from multiple drivers.  For some providers the need to exchange health information outside their organization isn't a priority. Others believe their electronic medical records (EMR) system inherently provides enough exchange capability.  And still others are struggling to keep up with the rapid changes in technology and standards required to exchange meaningfully.


Technical barriers to adoption are also a factor, with interoperability - the ability to both exchange the information and use the information that is exchanged - at the center. 


To accelerate adoption of HIE and overcome the barriers for adoption, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) partnered with ONC in August 2013 to declare that policy levers would be placed, along with incentives and payment adjustments, to ensure widespread adoption of HIE.  These policy levers, along with several other strategies for accelerating health information exchange, were published in Principles and Strategy for Accelerating Health Information Exchange (HIE).  


Some key strategies included are:

  • HHS will seek to ensure that all new regulations and guidance on existing programs enable a patient's health information to follow them wherever they access care to support patient-centered care delivery
  • HHS will implement policies that encourage HIE incrementally and could evolve from incentive and reward structures to ultimately considering HIE a standard business practice for providers.
  • Where feasible, we plan to leverage available authorities to go beyond HITECH implementation to accelerate interoperability and electronic exchange of health information across the health care system.
  • HHS' approach to accelerating HIE among health care providers is expected generally to follow a natural lifecycle of incentives followed by payment adjustments and finally through conditions of participation in Medicare and Medicaid programs as HIE becomes an established enabler of patient-centered care delivery.

Together with ONC's ten-year vision statement, the message is clear:  Health information exchange will expand and will become standard business practice for health care.


WISHIN offers a way to remain on the critical path planned by HHS, CMS and ONC, and WISHIN's products are available to providers regardless of business affiliation, health care organization, EMR vendor, or location within Wisconsin.  If your organization isn't already participating in WISHIN, contact WISHIN today ([email protected]).






WISHIN Joins the Mid-States Consortium of Health Information Organizations

WISHIN is pleased to announce its participation in the Mid-States Consortium of Health Information Organizations (Mid-States Consortium).  Participation in the Consortium will provide WISHIN an opportunity to work with other health information organizations (HIOs) and health information exchanges (HIEs) in the midwest and Rocky Mountain region to address data exchange challenges across regional and state lines.

Our December, 2013 WISHIN Connections  newsletter, and a subsequent January 2014 post in the  WISHIN Beat blog, highlighted some of WISHIN's efforts to connect to border and snow-bird state HIEs in order to exchange critical patient health care information for Wisconsinites when they travel or seek care outside of Wisconsin.  These efforts continue and Letters of Intent have already been established with several states to work together on connecting and sharing information HIE-to-HIE.  WISHIN is also in the final stages of becoming an eHealth Exchange participant - which will allow WISHIN to exchange data at the national level and with other states.  Together with our participation in the Mid-States Consortium, these efforts demonstrate WISHIN's commitment to ensuring that a patient's critical health information follow the patient wherever they seek care - even when that care crosses Wisconsin borders. 


The Mid-States Consortium provides WISHIN with an opportunity to address key interstate exchange challenges such as differing state laws, differing patient consent policies, and data use and data sharing policies. These issues can be barriers to successful exchange across regional and state boundaries and can prevent health information from following patients wherever they seek care.


Two of the primary goals for the Mid-States Consortium are to encourage more robust forms of HIE, similar to WISHIN's query-based exchange product, WISHIN Pulse, and to address the unique needs of rural areas related to health information technology and HIE.


With the addition of WISHIN, the Mid-States Consortium's membership includes 22 HIOs/HIEs and one supporting organization, the Community Service Council (based in Tulsa, Oklahoma). HIO/HIE members include:

  1. Colorado Regional Health Information Organization
  2. Community Health Information Collaborative (Minnesota)
  3. Coordinated Care Oklahoma
  4. Health Information Network of Arizona
  5. HealthShare, Montana, Inc.
  6. Idaho Health Data Exchange
  7. Illinois Health Information Exchange
  8. Iowa Health Information Network
  9. Kansas Health Information Network, Inc.
  10. Lewis & Clark Information Exchange (Missouri)
  11. Michiana Health Information Network (Indiana)
  12. Missouri Health Connection
  13. MyHealth Access Network, Inc. (Oklahoma)
  14. Nebraska Health Information Initiative
  15. North Dakota Health Information Network
  16. Quality Health Network (Colorado)
  17. SMRTNET (Oklahoma)
  18. South Dakota Health Link
  19. Southeast Texas Health System
  20. Tiger Institute of Health (Missouri)
  21. Utah Health Information Network
  22. Wisconsin Statewide Health Information Network
"The members of the Mid-States Consortium are committed to addressing the most difficult data exchange issues confronting health information organizations today," Jeff Messer, director of outreach and development, Colorado Regional Health Information Organization, said.


Messer also noted that "the Mid-States Consortium of HIOs will provide a venue through which HIOs can negotiate together with vendors and payers for products or services and advocate at the regional and national level for HIO-related issues. The Mid-States Consortium will provide the opportunity for HIOs to share knowledge, education and networking resources, and collaborate on funding opportunities where partnerships can be advantageous." (PR Newswire, Feb. 14, 2014)  



June 2014
In This Issue
Quick Links
WISHIN Pulse is a community health record that provides an aggregated summary view of a patient's health information from all providers that have seen the patient.  WISHIN Pulse is HIE technology that gives providers secure access to patients' medical information where and when they need it. 
Click here for more information on WISHIN Pulse
WISHIN Direct+
WISHIN Direct+ allows providers to easily connect and communicate with one another electronically across EMR systems.  Direct+ offers a suite of tools including Referrals and Secure Messaging to easily coordinate and exchange patient care. 
Click here for more information on WISHIN Direct+

Click here to view WISHIN's upcoming events.


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Wisconsin Statewide Health Information Network | 608-274-1820 [email protected] | http://www.wishin.org
PO Box 259038
Madison, WI 53725-9038

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