Tennessee eHealth Network to enable improved health care access and collaboration

Nashville 25 February 2008Leveraging technology to enhance the health care experience for patients and practitioners alike, AT&T has launched a major initiative with the State of Tennessee to deliver the country's first statewide health information exchange. The Tennessee Information Infrastructure eHealth Exchange Zone is being developed to transform how health information is accessed and delivered by the Tennessee care-giving community and, ultimately, to enable increased patient safety, reduced spending and improved quality of care for the state's 6 million residents.

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AT&T is actively engaged with the state and health care providers statewide in building the eHealth Exchange Zone. Plans call for eHealth applications to be phased in as participation by health care providers grows.

The AT&T solution features a secure on-line collaboration centre - a Virtual Private Network (VPN)-based portal - designed to safely and securely enable such applications as:

  • Prescribing pharmaceuticals on-line, also known as "ePrescribing".
  • Securing clinical messaging among the state's health care providers.
  • Sharing high-density images, including X-rays, MRIs and CT scans.
  • Exchanging patient information via portable health records, which provides patient profiles, medical history, prescriptions, etc.
  • Delivering telemedicine applications for remote diagnostics and care.
  • Accessing Tennessee Department of Health applications, including the immunization registry, disease registries, death certificate applications and processing and medical license renewal.
  • Accessing other health care applications and systems, including laboratory systems.

The network has an added component especially for protecting health information provided by the Covisint OnDemand Platform. The platform is a hosted solution that provides dual-factor authentication of health care providers using the VPN-based portal, which supports HIPAA privacy requirements. It also centralizes, automates and streamlines the access to information across health care communities statewide by giving physicians the ability to use many health-information applications with a single sign-on. The platform from Covisint, a division of Compuware Corporation, provides an on-demand, industry-leading infrastructure for secure collaboration and interoperability among health care providers.

The Tennessee eHealth network also features two patented solutions from AT&T, including establishing a:

  • Network-based health care information system to enable the secure exchange of electronic health care data among legacy systems of health care providers.
  • Virtual physician office system to enable the secure use of network-based health care information systems and applications.

"Tennessee is proud to be the first to expand its current state network and offer a private, affordable, statewide secure network for exchanging critical health care information among providers", stated Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen. "Our goal is to accurately and effectively deliver information to health care providers at the point of care, which will improve the quality of health care provided to the citizens of Tennessee. If a patient's medical history and record of care are available to the hospital, laboratory, pharmacy or physician, then they will ultimately receive better and more cost-effective medical care."

"The eHealth network offers anytime, anywhere delivery of care and information to patients, health care communities and the state of Tennessee", stated Gregg Morton, president, AT&T Tennessee. "We're committed to leveraging technology that will transform the delivery of health care, enhance operational efficiencies, provide innovative solutions and, ultimately, improve the quality of life."

The Tennessee eHealth Exchange Zone provides secure broadband connectivity via a VPN available in all 95 counties in Tennessee. It is being deployed in conjunction with the efforts of the Governor's eHealth Council as well as the state's health information exchanges, including the MidSouth eHealth Alliance in Memphis, CareSpark in upper eastern Tennessee, Innovation Valley Health Information Network in Knoxville and the statewide Shared Health network.

"We are closer than ever to Governor Bredesen's and the eHealth Council's goal of having a secure broadband infrastructure along with the necessary tools and applications to use health information technology at the point of care", stated Antoine Agassi, chair of Governor Bredesen's eHealth Council. "As a direct result, we will improve the quality of care available in Tennessee."

In 2006, Governor Phil Bredesen established his statewide eHealth Council to co-ordinate among eHealth initiatives across the state with a common goal: the successful development and implementation of electronic medical records (EMRs). As a result, Tennessee has established some of the most promising pilot projects in the United States for the development of a portable EMR. By leveraging state and federal funds, Tennessee is accomplishing leading edge changes in the health information technology sector. The Council guides ongoing eHealth initiatives in Tennessee to ensure interoperability, facilitate the definition of uniform standards, eliminate duplication of effort and reduce competition for resources. Governor Bredesen's leadership in the arena of eHealth led to the National Governors Association (NGA) appointing him co-chair of NGA's State Alliance for eHealth with Vermont Governor Jim Douglas.

The eHealth network is just the latest example of AT&T's commitment to invest in technology in Tennessee. Over the past 10 years, AT&T has spent more than $3 billion on its wireless and wired networks in Tennessee. AT&T Inc. is a premier communications holding company. Its subsidiaries and affiliates, AT&T operating companies, are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. Among their offerings are the world's most advanced IP-based business communications services and wireless, high speed Internet access and voice services.

For more information you can visit the Tennessee eHealth Exchange Zone website. More AT&T news can be found in the VMW August 2007 article AT&T announces $900.000 contribution to Mayo Clinic supporting research leading to personalized medicine.


Leslie Versweyveld

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