AUSTIN, TX / NASHVILLE, TN – December 11, 2012 – ICA, a leading provider of interoperability technology that enables health information exchange (HIE), announced today that the health technology interoperability laboratory at The University of Texas at Austin, in which it participates, is now up and running. The laboratory, funded by a grant from the Longhorn Innovation Fund for Technology from the university, is the latest addition to the Health IT Certificate program at the university, which was launched in January 2010 in collaboration with the Texas e-Health Alliance, the Texas Medical Association and members of the health IT industry.
ICA’s CareAlign Exchange solution suite will be integrated with the HIE lab, providing an interoperability and informatics platform that allows clinical health information systems to connect and communicate. The HIE laboratory will offer a necessary proving ground for the further development of health information exchange within the state of Texas and gives students a comprehensive view of health information technology by engaging with hospitals, payers, labs, public health professionals, physicians and pharmacies.
The laboratory provides a unique opportunity for students to get hands-on experience transferring simulated medical data between “virtual” medical practices. For example, students in the laboratory log on to the EHR systems as if they were in one of four Texas cities: Austin, Houston, Dallas, and Amarillo. They register test patients, record patient consent and enter fictitious medical data, which are then published to the HIEs using industry-standard Continuity of Care Documents (CCDs). These CCDs are stored in the HIEs and transferred between the virtual practices to simulate what is happening in real life throughout the state and the nation. The university intends to further develop the capabilities of this “living” laboratory with HIE-to-HIE interoperability, a simulated public health immunization registry, simulated bidirectional lab orders and results, as well as a “virtual” hospital-based care setting, and other healthcare entities.
“The University of Texas at Austin has demonstrated national thought leadership in the area of HIT and HIE through the quality of students it is attracting and the development of an environment for testing provider-to-provider healthcare technology,” said John Tempesco, Chief Marketing Officer of ICA. “Further, the spirit of collaboration fostered by this program will help build the foundation for transforming healthcare through standards-based exchange powered by an advanced interoperability and informatics platform. This collaborative effort is in keeping with ICA’s core philosophy and mirrors the efforts of our open ICAetc testing center.”
In April 2010, the university received an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant awarded by the Office of the National Coordinator, Health Information Technology to the Professional University Resources and Education for Health Information Technology (PURE-HIT) Consortium , a collaboration between lead organization, Texas State University, The University of Texas at Austin and The University of Texas School of Biomedical Informatics. The consortium received $5.4 million, the largest award in the nation among the nine programs funded for university-based education in health IT. The HIT sector job growth is expected to outpace growth in other sectors through 2020.
About the PURE-HIT Consortium
The PURE-HIT consortium is led by Texas State University-San Marcos (Texas State) in collaboration with The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin), College of Natural Sciences and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), School of Biomedical Informatics (SBMI). These three institutions are training students in five of the six workforce roles designated by ONC. By summer 2013, Texas State and UT Austin will train 291 students in health IT, and UTHealth SBMI will prepare 29 new students.