MAeHC CEO Micky Tripathi blogged today about the launch of the MA eHealth Collaborative’s latest accomplishment — the launch of its second (of three planned) community-wide health information exchanges, this one in greater Newburyport.  Patients can opt in to the system, which allows for sharing of health data community-wide: labs, hospitals, physician offices, etc., thus promoting better coordination of care and less duplication of diagnostic testing.  In the future, there will be a patient portal as well, allowing patient access to all this information, too.

Given the strides made in the PHR market since this HIE project first got under way, I wonder whether the Google Healths and Microsoft HealthVaults of the world may obviate the need for some pieces of the infrastructure of local HIEs, bringing them more within reach financially for a broader range of providers and communities — particularly as privacy, interoperability and chain-of-trust issues are better addressed on those platforms (see my earlier post touching on recent developments in those arenas).  There have been myriad workflow and process improvements that MAeHC has helped local providers make as they prepared for the transition to EHRs; my observation is limited to the “last mile,” if you will, the connections among providers and between providers and patients.

Update 6/27/08:  Micky reacts to my PHR vs. HIE infrastructure musings here.  The article re: HealthVault linked to above piqued my curiosity on this front, but I suppose real-world implementation is a ways off.  More on the announcement here, straight from MSFT.

David Harlow