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 aggressively working toward standing up the USVI Health Information Exchange (HIE).
To inform the development of the HIE, VIDHS contracted with CommunityHealth IT (CommHIT) to conduct the first-ever Digital Security Environmental Scan (USVI eScan 2023) of USVI health-related entities. An Environmental Scan is a foundational step in the development of any HIE and for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS’) HIE Certification. You can learn more about the USVI eScan 2023 at https://stthomassource.com/content/2023/01/23/usvis-first-digital-security-health-information-exchange-environmental-scan-released.
You may access the USVI eScan 2023 directly below.
The information gathered during the USVI eScan 2023 is arming the USVI with the information it needs to create a robust and secure technology HIE infrastructure. Once the HIE is completed, it will allow health information to be collected, analyzed, and shared by the USVI medical community. This will help coordinate care, lower costs, and 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:
Below are videos from the USVI eScan 2023.
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.
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
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.
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.