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PHIX Shaping the Way for Collecting and Storing Medical Information

July 26, 2017

The Health Information Exchange is now PHIX. Emily Hartmann is the executive director. And the number of partners and volume of patient records being collected and stored for exchange among medical providers is growing by the day.

“Right now the focus is on one-on-one conversations with physician practices and on-boarding major networks like the Veterans Administration and Department of Defense,” says Hartmann, who took the helm of PHIX in 2017.

Remember, it was in 2016 that the then-Paso del Norte Health Information Exchange (HIE) went live with leadership support from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation. Hartmann was working with the Borderplex Alliance when she was hired to help build out the program.

“It’s been an amazing journey. I’ve learned a lot,” Hartmann says. “We’ve come a long way and I think we are on the verge of being a huge resource and benefit to the community.”

PHIX got its first patient medical files through a partnership with The Hospitals of Providence, which began using the site in March of 2016.

Legal agreements with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso have been completed, and PHIX is currently on boarding University Medical Center and El Paso Children’s Hospital. Hartmann says she will continue to spend 2017 securing additional partnerships.

The newest partner is the Veterans Administration (VA), which is in the final stages of testing its systems to allow for the exchange of VA medical records through PHIX. Once live, any provider using the health information exchange can access patient data and full records of care for veterans. Exchanging data with the VA is in line with a pilot project spearheaded by Congressman Beto O’Rourke to improve the overall level of care and ease of transfer and access to medical records for veterans.

Once Veterans Affairs has completed its testing and VA medical records are being shared through PHIX, the Department of Defense will begin an on-boarding process to test how it can exchange medical records of active duty military at William Beaumont Army Medical Center and Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, NM.

These are huge partnerships for PHIX and underscore the momentum Hartmann has in building data bases of patient records from a variety of hospitals and medical providers. The medical files typically include basic patient demographics of name, age, and insurance information, and then a patient’s medical diagnosis, including lab results, any allergies and any other notes a physician made include in a patient’s electronic medical record.

The data is stored on secure servers, and PHIX follows all the rules that hospitals follow to protect the patient’s information, including following federal HIPPA guidelines.

“Everybody is properly trained to make privacy and security a priority. All data is encrypted at all times,” says Hartmann. “From a patient’s perspective, it’s about your provider having the right information at the right time. Having your medical history at the medical provider’s fingertips is a real advantage and is a great tool to improve health outcomes.”

To learn more about PHIX, visit phixnetwork.org.

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