KHI News Service

Patient health exchange networks agree to connect

Opens door for doctors statewide to exchange digital patient records

By Phil Cauthon | November 12, 2013

The two networks that comprise Kansas' digital health information exchange have agreed on terms for interconnecting, according to network officials.

Laura McCrary, executive director of the Kansas Health Information Network (KHIN).

View larger photo


LACIE-KHIN Data Sharing Agreement

Download .PDF

"We were able to agree on a definition of treatment that significantly limited the use of KHIN’s data by LACIE or LACIE members," said Laura McCrary, chief executive of KHIN. The two networks are the Lewis And Clark Health Information Exchange (LACIE), which primarily serves providers in the Kansas City area; and the Kansas Health Information Network (KHIN), which serves most of the rest of the state.

The agreement paves the way for a unified statewide network over which doctors for the first time can exchange digital patient records. Network officials said they expect health care workers to be able to use the system sometime by the end of the year.

The networks had been at impasse for months due to disagreement over what constituted permissible use of data from the other network.

They faced an end-of-the-year deadline to connect as required by their licenses to operate in the state.

Once the networks have been fully interconnected 30 days, they will qualify for $500,000 each in federal incentive money.

There also is about $350,000 earmarked for the networks once they connect to another state's system and complete three public health connections: electronic lab reporting, syndromic surveillance and immunizations, according to officials at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), which regulates health information in the state.

The funds, authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, expire Feb. 14, 2014.

In April, $4.5 million in ARRA funds were paid to KHIN and $1.3 million to LACIE based on how many providers had begun connecting to each network.

The funds are being distributed by the newly formed KanHIT, a bureau at KDHE which in July began regulating health information exchange upon dissolution of the former regulator, KHIE Inc.

KanHIT advisory committee

Under the law giving regulatory authority to the state, an advisory committee must be formed.

Aaron Dunkel and Michael McPherson of KanHIT, the state's health information exchange regulatory arm at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

View larger photo

KDHE Deputy Secretary Aaron Dunkel, who leads KanHIT, said emails will be sent this week to potential board members and to organizations that will be represented on the committee.

"We're hoping to (meet) definitely before Christmas," Dunkel said. "Basically the agenda is going to be secondary data use and a couple of items around adjusted policy language based on the transition from KHIE to KDHE."

"Secondary data use" refers to how information collected through the network can be used in aggregate once it is gathered.

"The one thing that's outstanding from the end of the (defunct KHIE) board was the discussion around secondary data use," Dunkel said.

The questions surrounding secondary data use were behind the impasse that kept KHIN and LACIE from interconnecting sooner, said Laura McCrary, KHIN’S chief executive.

"What our participants expect," McCrary told KHI News Service before the agreement was reached, "is that the data be used for purposes of treatment and if it's going to be used for anything else, we at least need to know what it's going to be used for and approve of that, since we have no secondary data use policy in our state.”

<br clear="all" />

Coverage of electronic health records in Kansas

Kansas breaks ground on statewide digital health network (5/28/12)
The pros and cons of health information exchange: An interview with Dr. Joe Davison (5/28/12)

More coverage
KanHIT Advisory Council to craft 'secondary data use' policy (2/18/14)
Kansas HIE networks connected ‘live’ for first time (12/23/13)
Network execs confident they will meet looming deadline (12/16/13)
Patient health exchange networks agree to connect (11/12/13)
The Kansas insurance marketplace that might have been (10/21/13)
Security and privacy of patient data subject of regulatory hearing (9/30/13)
Deadline looming for state's patient record exchange (8/26/13)
KDHE begins day-to-day duties of HIE regulation (7/19/13)
Network execs squabble over issue of exchange connectivity (5/23/13)
KU Hospital, Shawnee Mission going live on statewide health record exchange (5/9/13)
Governor signs HIE bill transferring regulatory authority from KHIE to KDHE (4/18/13)
This is why health IT systems aren't keeping up (3/19/13)
Senate panel hears bill to move HIE regulatory authority to KDHE (3/13/13)
Bill introduced to transfer regulatory authority from KHIE to KDHE (2/12/13)
Legislators request 'lengthy discussion' on HIE developments (1/16/13)
KHIE board members get cold feet on legal changes (12/13/12)
KHIE defers details of transition to KDHE (10/10/12)
KHIE board turns over regulatory duties to state (9/12/12)
HIE board delays decision on turning authority, costs over to state (8/8/12)
Regulators of health information exchange to consider ceding authority to state (8/6/12)
The cost of independent regulation of health information exchange (8/6/12)
KHIE board presented with proposal to dissolve the organization by August (7/11/12)
Far fewer than projected patients opting out of health information exchange (6/14/12)
Public awareness campaign begins for health information network (5/23/12)
Networks granted temporary licenses to exchange patient data (4/11/12)
KHIE committee changes course on funding scheme (3/26/12)
Rural Kansas doc featured as national technology leader (8/17/11)
State Medicaid officials announce new schedule for digital health records exchange (7/25/11)
Kansas health care providers get first look at exchange implementation (2/4/11)

Full coverage of health information technology in Kansas

<br clear="all" />

The KHI News Service is an editorially independent initiative of the Kansas Health Institute. It is supported in part by a variety of underwriters. The News Service is committed to timely, objective and in-depth coverage of health issues and the policy-making environment. All News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution, including a link back to when a story is reposted online. An automatically updated feed of headlines and more from KHI can be included on your website using the KHI widget. More about the News Service at or contact us at (785) 233-5443.

<br clear="all" />