STC Adds Powerful Enhancements to PHC-Hub™ in Support of Interoperability and Meaningful Use for Immunization Information Exchange

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Scientific Technologies Corporation (STC) announces enhanced functionality to PHC-Hub™, a tool designed to support the challenges of implementing public health Meaningful Use interoperability. PHC-Hub™ allows immunization information system (IIS) programs to more easily attest, monitor, and manage HL7 vaccination encounters submitted by the clinical provider and health information exchange community. PHC-Hub™ significantly increases the ability to meet the demands of electronic exchange for accurate and timely immunization, electronic laboratory, and syndromic surveillance for disease early warning, a stress point for the clinical care and public health communities. The on-going evolution of PHC-Hub™ addresses this stress point for the immunization community.

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West Virginia will be using STC’s new HL7 interface engine PHC-Hub™ to on-board providers that are working toward Meaningful Use and other providers who wish to do data exchange using HL7.

Scientific Technologies Corporation’s (STC) Public Health Connection Hub (PHC-Hub™) is an innovative suite of tools designed to facilitate best practices for exchanging reportable Meaningful Use population data.

Accurate records of patient immunization histories are vital to the clinical care and public health communities to meet the goal of keeping patient immunizations current, thereby minimizing risk and reducing the impact of vaccine-preventable disease. Electronic health information exchange initiatives, combined with efforts to address health care costs through improved monitoring of prevention programs, have resulted in requirements for clinical providers and public health organizations to accelerate their efforts to exchange immunization records. This is designed to occur at the time of care. The implementation of links to exchange information is a labor-intensive process to establish and maintain.

STC has been actively engaged in creating solutions to address the challenges currently faced with on-boarding provider’s electronic health record (EHR) systems to successfully send and receive data from the immunization information system (IIS). Medical providers who are adopting, implementing, and demonstrating Meaningful Use of certified EHR technology for Meaningful Use Stage 1 must meet one public health standard, one of which is sending data to an IIS. Meaningful Use Stage 1 is the initial step in sending data to an IIS. Moving forward to Meaningful Use Stage 2 in January 2014 will require EHRs to support complete and correct immunization encounter documentation of clinical care providers. The data then will be valuable to the state IIS. The provider and patient value for these exchanges increases significantly when the state sends historical patient records to support the vaccine decision process.

PHC-Hub™ supports HL7 v2.31 and v2.5.1 standards, providing a comprehensive framework for the electronic data exchange, integration, sharing, and retrieval of electronic health information. PHC-Hub™ allows an IIS to evaluate data for completeness and accuracy, as well as confirming that it will successfully transmit to the IIS. The new enhancements to PHC-Hub™ include:

  •     Additional validation to indicate errors in data quality related to vaccinations marked in the HL7 message as administered and the patient’s age.
  •     A new search option that allows the IIS to quickly identify the last message that was submitted for a patient, with all submissions for that patient also being displayed.
  •     The IIS is now able to set parameters for submissions for easy identification of “outliers.” When a submission falls outside certain thresholds an email can be sent to multiple parties to notify them of the potential problem.
  •     The Project Tracker has been enhanced to enable flexible summarizing of entries.
  •     An additional set of conditional validations is now included.
  •     The IIS can now set a validation to reject HL7 messages containing unwanted data.

PHC-Hub™ is currently being used successfully by the State of Alaska Immunization Program and is being reviewed in test by the Louisiana, West Virginia, and Washington State immunization programs. As described by Tim Neely, Immunization Registry Project Manager for the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, “West Virginia will be using STC’s new HL7 interface engine PHC-Hub™ to on-board providers that are working toward Meaningful Use and other providers who wish to do data exchange using HL7. PHC-Hub can do bi-directional exchange and provide Advisory Council on Immunization practices (ACIP) forecasting through HL7 version 2.5.1. PHC-Hub™ allows edit checks to be set in an import profile so that we can check incoming data quality on criteria that WV has determined that are required.”

PHC-Hub™ is currently compatible with IWeb, STC’s IIS COTS solution in use by eight US states. STC is also developing a version of PHC-Hub™, planned for availability in December 2012, to integrate with the Wisconsin Immunization Registry (WIR) open source IIS in use by the STC-supported systems of Maine and Montana.

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About STC
STC’s goal is to ensure healthy populations through partnership, expertise, and applied use of information technology. In the early 1990s STC was one of the first adopters of the value of immunization registries and the data that could be used for decision support to augment clinical practice, targeting the reduction and impact of vaccine preventable disease on children. With the support of physicians, organizations, and policy and vaccine experts, STC’s public health and software professionals led many of the early efforts and best practices to implement statewide registries. The efforts continue today as over 250 million vaccine encounters are retained in the immunization registries of STC and their state public health partners. Increasing the value of these national health data assets is a primary goal of STC through the next decade. http://www.stchome.com

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Laura Smearman
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