EHR Health Information ExchangeWith the help of the United States’ first cancer reporting model, which sends patients’ electronic health record (EHR) data to the Kentucky Cancer Registry in real time, researchers now have access to timely medical data and statistics that can help spot cancer-related trends more quickly than ever before. According to a statement by Eric Durbin, the director of Cancer Informatics at the Kentucky Cancer Registry, “[The] project is laying the groundwork for electronic reporting not only in Kentucky but across the United States.”

The reporting module, which officially launched in October of last year, is a collaboration between the Kentucky Health Information Exchange, Regional Extension Center and Cancer Registry, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It was funded through the CDC as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Comparative Effectiveness Research activity, due to its ability to improve population health through disease surveillance efforts.

The database is made possible through the use of health information exchange (HIE), which allows for the secure transfer of clinical data between EHR systems and government databases. Many states are working on developing standard health information exchanges that allow providers to share data with government agencies at all levels, as well as other physicians using different EHRs. The ultimate goal is to have a national interoperable network facilitating health information exchange between providers and agencies in different states.

HIE is likely be an important tool for healthcare providers looking to participate in Meaningful Use stage 2 next year.