NEHENClinical: A Platform For Health Information Exchange

Despite all the attention that clinical health information exchange has received in the media recently, the concept is not new: providers sharing clinical information electronically to improve the quality, speed, and cost of healthcare. For years, NEHEN has helped its members to overcome technical and organizational barriers to exchanging patient information between each other, while conforming to strict privacy and security regulations.

On a daily basis, hospitals and others exchange clinical information, typically with fragile, manual, and one-off solutions between themselves and their exchange partners that are difficult to maintain or reuse. As time goes on, this approach creates a host of expensive, complex, and time-consuming processes for basic clinical information exchange and reporting for compliance and regulatory purposes. NEHENClinical is our community's answer to those challenges, offering a single channel through which to consolidate those one-off processes into a single solution that can meet all their clinical information exchange needs.

The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009's meaningful use requirements have focused new energy on the use-cases that will earn Medicaid and Medicare providers incentives between 2011 and 2015 for the adoption of electronic medical record (EMR) systems. Several of the requirements for meaningful use involve the exchange of clinical information between providers and settings of care, but even absent the incentives, providers and payers find value in participating in clinical data exchange.

What Does NEHENClinical Do?
How Do I Know if NEHENClinical Is Right For Me?
How Does NEHENClinical Work?
Can I Talk To Someone About NEHENClinical?

What Does NEHENClinical Do?

NEHENClinical is a set of software tools that allow health information systems, such as EMRs, to send and receive clinical information with other providers and payers. Built on an extremely flexible framework, NEHENClinical can accept any clinical transaction that uses the HL7 2.5.1 or Continuity of Care Document (CCD) specification, route it securely and reliably, and deliver it to another exchange partner (e.g., provider, payer, government agency). As a NEHEN member, you will have open access to the underlying database and transaction routing engine so that you can integrate the tools into the rest of your health information technology workflow and architecture.

With NEHENClinical you can exchange any number of transactions, regardless of your clinical software vendor:
 bulletVisit/Discharge Summaries
 bulletImmunization Reports
 bulletSyndromic Surveillance Reports
 bulletDiagnostic and Testing Results
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How Do I Know if NEHENClinical Is Right For Me?

Members who use NEHENClinical have observed that their patients move frequently between affiliated caregivers and those outside their network. They see value in creating a single channel through which they can share patient information to improve the continuity of care. Most also do it to automate processes that involve the movement of patient data that they view as being too manual, time consuming, or expensive to continue doing the way they do today.

NEHENClinical is right for hospitals, payers, large independent physician organizations, and ancillary organizations that have the need to move sensitive clinical patient data between themselves and other members of the healthcare community in a secure, reliable fashion.
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How Does NEHENClinical Work?

NEHENClinical is built from many of the same concepts that underpin the NEHENClassic solution. As a peer-to-peer system, NEHENClinical members exchange information directly with other partners. A community participant directory resides in a shared infrastructure so that all members of the community can keep others apprised of participants' locations and delivery preference (e.g., into their EMR, a secure email box, fax).

Unlike many clinical information exchanges, NEHENClinical uses a "push" model instead of a "pull" model for its exchange. Meaning, clinical information gets "pushed" from one caregiver to the next, instead of being "pulled" by the next caregiver from the previous one. "Push" has two major advantages over "pull": first, the caregiver has actually seen the patient and is therefore a part of payment, treatment or operations ("PTO"; a HIPAA concept central to patient data sharing), and second, "push" avoids the uncertainty that comes with ensuring that the patient's data being "pulled" is from the correct patient. There is no master patient index chock-full of PHI in NEHENClinical, making it far more secure and private a method for exchanging clinical information of any kind than other packaged HIEs that rely on pulling information from other sources.

How Clinical Works
 
1. Your staff enters information into their existing hospital information system or EMR, and this generates a CCD or HL7 transaction which is fed to the NEHENClinical gateway.
2. The NEHENClinical gateway examines the transaction and determines its destination, then looks up where the recipient is located from a common participant directory.
3. The transaction is routed directly to the intended recipient over the internet. The recipient (e.g., another provider, a government agency, or a payer) receives the transaction and sends back any appropriate acknowledgements and responses.
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Can I Talk To Someone About NEHENClinical?

Yes. If you have questions, or think that NEHENClinical might be right for you, please send us an email at neheninfo@nehen.org with your contact information and a day and time that you'd like for us to reach out to you on.
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