USVI

Health Information Exchange Development
for the U.S. Virgin Islands

Informing the Development of the Health Information Exchange for the U.S.Virgin Islands

The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Human Services (VIDHS) Medicaid Office, supported by the Office of Health Information Technology (housed in the Office of the Governor), is taking a major step in standing up the USVI Health Information Exchange (HIE):

VIDHS has contracted with CommunityHealth IT (CommHIT) to conduct the first-ever Digital Security Environmental Scan (Environmental Scan) of USVI health-related entities to inform the development of the HIE.

The Environmental Scan is a foundational step in the development of any HIE and for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS’) HIE Certification.

The information gathered during the Environmental Scan will allow USVI to create a robust and secure technology HIE infrastructure. When complete, the HIE will allow health information to be collected, analyzed, and shared to better coordinate care, to lower costs, and to achieve USVI Medicaid, USVI medical community, and USVI population health goals.

The HIE initiative is supported by the Bryan / Roach Administration as part of the Governor’s Healthier Horizons Initiative. One of the three core tenants of the Healthier Horizons is the modernization of the USVI healthcare infrastructure to improve health services to residents.

Another component of modernization underway is Audacious Inquiry’s implementation of the Patient Unified Lookup System (PULSE). PULSE is a nationwide disaster response platform that leverages national networks that include clinical data for over 205 million individuals and medication history for 324 million individuals. PULSE also supports connections to custom and local data sources, like regional, state, or territorial HIEs.

Although PULSE is not an HIE, the HIE and PULSE are both necessary strategies to achieve the goal of modernizing and transforming health care delivery in the USVI.

This scope of work is consistent with the following CMS goals:

Timeline and Updates:

CommHIT is teaming with Island Analytics and Marketing, LLC to better reach USVI medical providers and coordinate Environmental Scan events that you can attend.

As we plan the first event, we need providers to participate in the first phase of the Environmental Scan. That phase is: COMPLETION of a mandatory, brief online Survey for Medical Providers.

Mandatory Medicaid Provider Survey

This Survey will be distributed by email by November 15, 2021. If you do not receive a survey by that day, please contact Beverly Joseph at Beverly.Joseph@dhs.vi.gov. 

VIDHS will need for you to complete the Survey before November 25 so we can begin analyzing the aggregate results.

Findings from the Survey will be available in January 2022. A report on the findings will be sent to all participating Medicaid Providers. 

JOIN US! November 19 12-3pm LIVE Event at the Ritz-Carlton Ballroom in St. Thomas
Creating Connections: USVI HIE Event for Providers and Healthcare Leaders

An event will be held in the main Ritz-Carlton Ballroom on St. Thomas on Friday, November 19, 2021 from 12-3pm. Seating will be limited, and food and beverages will be included. Because seating is limited, we will also be Livestreaming the event for those who want to participate in real-time but can’t get to the venue. We will put a recording of the event on this webpage, in case you are unable to participate at the time of the event. The event will be free to all participants. Please join us! To RSVP for the in-person event, or learn more, please contact: islandanalytics.vi@gmail.com. Link to Invitation. Link to Official Press Release. Register in advance for the Event Zoom Livestream at: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_eDZZIuzQSseJUSCuYYtMcg.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an HIE, and how will it help patients?

An HIE creates the electronic sharing of secure, private, and confidential patient information between two or more organizations to improve patient care coordination.

What is the HIE Digital Security Environmental Scan?

It is a process of surveys, information gathering, and assessments that create a clear picture of provider and institutional readiness, as well as infrastructure needs, to electronically connect providers safely, securely, and successfully to one another, to patients, and to national health and wellness databases via the HIE.

The Environmental Scan provides an assessment of the current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT), both inside and outside the organization, that may impact the long-term viability of the HIE.

Why is an HIE Digital Security Environmental Scan Important?

It provides a clear understanding of the gaps, needs, and areas of digitally-vulnerable connections in the USVI Medicaid health care system (physicians, offices, clinics, hospitals, pertinent government agencies).

VIDHS and the Office of Health Information Technology (OHIT) need Medicaid Provider input to ensure that the HIE is planned and implemented in a way operates efficiently and effectively. The Environmental Scan is the CMS-recommended way to receive and analyze Medicaid Provider input.

If properly built on a strong and secure foundation, an HIE will transform and improve the delivery of healthcare services by enabling and facilitating the creation of a Clinically Integrated Network. An HIE will benefit USVI providers and affiliated providers in Puerto Rico and the mainland.

What are the goals for receiving an HIE Certification from CMS? 

  • Enhance care coordination and interoperability of electronic health records (EHRs) to support Medicaid providers’ ability to meet Promoting Interoperability Program (PIP) requirements; 
  • Support broader HIE initiatives; 
  • Identify HIE-related challenges and technical assistance needs from Medicaid providers and Medicaid organizations. 

How will an HIE help transform the delivery of healthcare services in the USVI?

It will transform healthcare service delivery by:

  • Facilitating the creation of a Clinically Integrated Network of providers or practices in USVI, Puerto Rico and the mainland;
  • Streamlining access to patient data to improve interoperability and increase telehealth adoption through an integrated network of providers;
  • Facilitating data collection and analysis to allow for improved benchmarking and quality metrics;
  • Improving the quality of care and patient safety via virtual patient monitoring and coordination of care through electronic sharing of clinical data between providers;
  • Improving communication between providers and patients with patient clinical data and alerts available to integrate with provider EHRs;
  • Improving efficiency for providers through the reduction of paperwork;
  • Reducing health-related costs by improving data sharing between providers and third-party agencies.


Additional Resources:
Health Information Exchange Terminology
Data Types and Sources for HIE

Health Information Technology, Evaluation, and Quality Center (HITEQ)
About Health Information Exchange
Principles and Strategy for Accelerating Health Information Exchange

About CommHIT

Launch Photo at KSC by Tres Holton, 2021

CommHIT is a 501(c)(6) located at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida.

CommHIT works with government entities, health systems, and safety-net medical facilities. Its focus is to pave a way forward for HIT-use that benefits health organizations and their patients.

This is done through assessments, followed by technology design recommendations, workforce development, connectivity expansion, and digital security provisions.

Under the Environmental Scan, the USVI Population Health Information Sharing and Analysis Center (PH-ISAC USVI), housed by CommHIT, is scanning the information sharing needs of the USVI healthcare ecosystem as it applies to the digital security of the HIE.

Population Health PH-ISAC USVI

CommHIT and CommHIT ISACs are an integral part of a cluster of cybersecurity organizations that protects and monitors the digital security of key business sector entities and critical infrastructure. CommHIT’s specialty in the digital security and health technology arena is information sharing, federal policy development, and workforce development—particularly for entities that address the health and transportation of vulnerable groups and the public at-large. More about CommHIT.