Pennsylvania eHealth Collaborative adds $6 million to health information exchanges

The Pennsylvania eHealth Collaborative has awarded $6 million in grants to four organizations supporting statewide electronic health information exchanges. The money will go to both local and regional exchanges to improve interoperability and build out. Grant money will be used to bring hospitals, physicians and nurses onto existing exchanges nearby.

Grant recipients are using the money to connect their existing exchanges and create regional health information platforms eventually leading to a statewide system. The platform will also provide access to a provider directory, patient index and record-locator services. By offering these features on the platform, hospitals and physicians will be able to share common services even though they aren’t at the same hospital and reap cost savings.

Grants of $1.5 million each were awarded to HealthShare of Southeastern PA Inc; Highmark HIE; Lehigh Valley Hospital; and St. Luke’s Hospital. Pennsylvania has so far received $17.1 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (‘the stimulus’) to establish its statewide health information exchange.

“Our goal is three-fold: we want to build capacity for exchanging health information; increase connectivity and the flow of patient information; and facilitate the movement toward nationwide interoperability,” said Robert Torres, Pennsylvania’s Health Information Technology coordinator of the awards.