Optical/IP Networks

Data Exchange Links Medical Records

Verizon Enterprise Solutions today announced a Verizon Medical Data Exchange that lets medical facilities and doctors’ offices easily share transcribed medical notes electronically, rather than by facsimile.

Today’s announcement, made at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society annual conference in Atlanta, comes on the heels of Verizon’s selection as the IT platform provider by the Medical Transcription Service Consortium (MTSC). In general, Verizon’s system aids medical professionals under pressure to move to more electronic means of data sharing, although this effort is completely separate from the larger electronic medical record initiative.

The Verizon Medical Data Exchange enables any qualified individual to send a transcription of a doctor’s patient notes to any other qualified individual, as long as both are part of the exchange. The initial two members are MD-IT and MedQuist, both technology companies serving doctors and healthcare facilities and both founding members of the MTSC. By August, all MTSC members are expected to participate, bringing more than 350,000 physicians and 2,700 clinics and nearly 2,500 hospitals into the process.

Today, 92 percent of all medical transcriptions are faxed or mailed to other professionals, a process that is time-consuming and inefficient, says Peter Trippett, vice president of security solutions and enterprise innovation for Verizon Business. By enabling more efficient information sharing, MTSC members hope to improve patient care without demanding more effort from doctors.

What Verizon provides through its Verizon Medical Data Exchange is verification of sender and recipient identities and encryption of the patient information that is being shared. The exchange meets the requirements established by the Nationwide Health Information Network for the formatting of medical data being exchanged.

“This will help all these transcription companies or some portion of them that have been challenged with new technology to stay relevant in an electronic environment,” says Peter Preziosi, chief executive officer of the Medical Transcription Industry Association, which includes 60 percent of all medical transcriptionists.

It will also help doctors keep up with stringent federal privacy laws without forcing them to do more cumbersome paperwork that takes them away from time with patients, Preziosi said.

The Verizon Medical Data Exchange is the latest initiative from Verizon Connected Healthcare Solutions, a vertical group created within Verizon Business to specifically address the healthcare industry’s communications needs. (See Verizon Pushes Deeper Into Tele-Medicine).

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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