August 2015
Welcome to WISHIN Connections, the monthly e-Newsletter from 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 Facilitates Delivery of Lab Results

Did you know that WISHIN Pulse can deliver lab results directly into your EHR?
For the past year WISHIN has been delivering more than 560 lab results per week to Mineral Point Medical Center in southwestern Wisconsin. The lab results are sent to WISHIN Pulse by the hospital laboratories at Upland Hills Health (Dodgeville) and St. Mary's (Madison) and are incorporated directly into Mineral Point Medical Center's electronic health record (EHR) by Emdeon™.  

Results delivery- including results for laboratory, pathology, and radiology tests- is a core HIE service and is something any lab, hospital, or provider participating in WISHIN Pulse can take advantage of.  

Results delivery is especially valuable to:
  • Clinics, nursing homes, or other providers that do not share an EHR or Laboratory Information System (LIS) with the lab that performs the tests.
  • Clinics, nursing homes, or other providers that may send their labs to a local hospital to be performed.
  • Hospitals or clinics that send lab orders to the external reference labs like Dynacare or Quest and need an electronic way to bring those labs back into their EHR. 
  • Hospitals that perform labs for local providers that need a secure, automated way to deliver those results back to the provider.
It isn't necessary to incorporate the lab results into the recipient organization's EHR; if desired, the lab results can be delivered to an inbox in WISHIN Pulse where a physician can access and/or print them. This might be a preferred mechanism for providers with less sophisticated practice systems.

As of July 31, 2015, more than 20 million lab results had been shared real-time to WISHIN Pulse from hospital and clinic laboratories around the state. These results are available for viewing by WISHIN Pulse participants who are treating a patient but they can also be delivered directly to a provider's EHR. If you're still sending or receiving lab results via fax or courier, WISHIN can save you time and money by automating the delivery of those results electronically.  
WISHIN Achieves Certification in Minnesota
Health care doesn't stop at the Wisconsin border. Health systems and clinic groups have clinics and/or hospitals across state lines, providers can practice in multiple states, and patients may seek care in multiple states. 

On a practical level, where care is received shouldn't have to matter.  But on a technical, legal, and policy level it can be a big deal.  Each state has its own set of laws and policies that govern how health care in that state must operate. Sometimes the laws or policies in one state will directly conflict with the laws in another.  This is true for everything from patient consent laws to emergency department chart access policies to data-sharing processes. 

Technology must be able to accommodate the unique laws and policies of the states where it is used.  If the same technical solution covers providers and/or patients in multiple states the laws in all of those states must be accommodated in the solution. For example, if providers use the same EHR instance in their Minnesota clinic as they do in their Wisconsin clinic, the EHR instance must be able to accommodate the laws and requirements surrounding patient consent and data sharing in both states.

Late last year WISHIN did an evaluation of the technical, policy and legal ramifications of sharing data with our border and snow-bird states. Our goals were three-fold:
  • Ensure a pateints' health records follows them where ever they receive care- even if they cross a state border.
  • Ensure providers are able to access those health records when treating the patient, even if they come from a clinic or hospital across state lines.
  •  Ensure that the sharing of patient records is done in according to the patient's wishes and applicable law.
As a result of our evaluation and the current functional status of our border and snow-bird state HIEs, WISHIN decided to start our efforts for connectivity and interoperability with Minnesota. With several hospital and clinic systems spanning the Wisconsin-Minnesota border, connectivity and interoperability with Minnesota could offer tangible benefits to WISHIN participants operating- and patients living- on the "west coast" of the state.

Minnesota has several laws and policies related to HIE and the sharing of patient data through an HIE entity.  These laws and policies differ from Wisconsin. Certification from the Minnesota Department of Health is required for any HIE to operate in Minnesota. 

WISHIN began the certification process at the end of January. It involved an application and a public hearing - both providing details of WISHIN's background and mission, governance, technical operations and services, as well as how it would comply with Minnesota law and policy regarding HIE.

WISHIN received its official Minnesota health data intermediary (HDI) certification at the end of May- allowing us to provide HIE services to Minnesota providers. WISHIN currently provides Direct+ Messaging services to two organizations that span the Wisconsin-Minnesota border: Gundersen Lutheran Health System and Minnesota-based, HealthPartners.

WISHIN's Minnesota HDI certification is another successful step toward true interoperability, providing critical health information where it is needed, when it is needed for seamless and complete patient care.

Which health care organizations are contributing data to the WISHIN Pulse community health record? Chances are there's one or more near you!

Wisconsin Statewide Health Information Network | 608-274-1820 [email protected] |
PO Box 259038
Madison, WI 53725-9038