Healthix is waiving its HIE connection
fee and has adopted Verato technology
for its patient matching needs
(Photo Courtesy: Healthix)

Healthix adopts Verato solution for patient matching, waives HIE connection fee

August 17, 2018
by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter
Healthix Inc., the largest public health information exchange in the U.S., is adopting Verato Inc. as its primary vendor for patient matching in its transition toward a HITRUST-certified cloud infrastructure.

The New York-based HIE has chosen to make the referential matching technology of Verato’s Universal MPI solution its primary tool for matching patients accurately. In addition, the company is waiving its HIE connection cost, enabling independent physician practices to save thousands in integrating their EHRs and participating fully in the Statewide Health Information Network for New York.

“We are always looking to innovate and improve our technology stack, and our MPI is a foundational component of the technology foundation that supports Healthix services,” Todd Rogow, SVP and chief information officer at Healthix, said in a statement published by Verato. “We are well on our way to a full HITRUST-certified environment, and the Verato Universal MPI perfectly fits into our vision. It checks all the boxes: better performance, better security, better matching, and lower future cost.”

While conventional EHRs and EMPIs determine matches by comparing the demographic data of two patients, Verato employs referential matching, an approach that utilizes an algorithm to compare the demographic data of those patient records with the company’s reference database of identities, which contains information on more than 300 million people throughout the U.S.

The choice of Verato’s Universal MPI is expected to aid Healthix in avoiding future costs throughout its growth, as well as those for upgrades and ongoing annual support for hardware and software as it increases its service offerings. It also is projected to reduce the costs of manual data stewardship and manual matching processes.

The organization first came to rely on Verato as a vendor in 2016 with the implementation of its Auto-Steward solution, a simple cloud-based plug-in that automatically resolves difficult match decisions and can work with any existing EMPI or EHR.

The platform currently processes an approximate average of 40,000 match decisions daily for Healthix, while reducing the number of "potential duplicates" previously flagged or manually reviewed. With the implementation of its Universal MPI, the average approximate number of daily matches facilitated by Verato is slated to increase to one million per day.

Healthix will continue to work with its current primary vendor, IBM, and will maintain use of its solution, Initiate.

The organization is also waiving its fee for connecting with it as an HIE, enabling independent physician practices to integrate their EHRs and save thousands. The waiver will apply to those who sign on as a participant in Healthix by September 30, with organizations that meet specific eligibility requirements subject to additional funding incentives of up to $13,000 from the State’s Data Exchange Incentive Program (DEIP) and SHIN-NY Connections Initiative (SCI).

"Practices are often juggling competing priorities and limited resources that may pose barriers, especially for smaller physician practices," Vivienne DeStefano, vice president of external affairs and corporate communications at Healthix, told HCB News. "To alleviate that burden and encourage physicians to participate in the State Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY), funds have been allocated to address that need. Healthix encourages all physician practices to take advantage of waived implementation fees as well as incentives offered by the New York State DOH (i.e. DEIP and SCI programs)."

Participation provides physicians with real-time alerts to when patients are admitted or discharged from the ED, enabling them to intervene and collaborate on care. Such actions can help avoid costly hospital admissions and reduce unnecessary and duplicate testing.

Healthix provides secure access to clinical data of more than 16 million patients, with their consent, in support of treatment, care coordination and quality improvement.

Physicians are encouraged to consult their EHR vendors about incurring nominal fees for HIE interoperability.

HCB News reached out to IBM for a comment. IBM did not respond.