Wednesday, August 19, 2015

HealthNet connect is Primed for eHealth

Healthcare stakeholders have high hopes for Health Information Exchange (HIE) and Telehealth as essential ingredients for creating a better system of care. The future of exchanging health information and remote care delivery depends on powerful technologies and smart networks to attain these aspirations. With rising healthcare costs and unprecedented pressures on healthcare systems to engage in population health, the time is right to use HIE and Telehealth to break down the barriers to make healthcare more efficient, more connected and more affordable.

In 2007 UnityPoint Health made an important and strategic decision to create HealthNet connect to support the interoperability among health care entities by providing and connecting health care organizations to a private and secure, high speed fiber optic network throughout the mid-west and the ability, through Internet2 and the National Lamba Rail, to extend communications throughout the country. One of the specific purposes of providing these high speed connections was to create an avenue for health care organizations to pursue eHealth strategies such as HIE and Telehealth.

States, universities and major health care providers nationwide are in various stages of implementing statewide Health Information Exchanges and Telehealth programs. UnityPoint Health was one of the first health care organization to recognize the value of an HIE and Telehealth network in 2007, with the creation of HealthNet connect. Since then, HealthNet connect has expanded, with over 120 healthcare sites directly connected to their infrastructure across 4 states (Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Wisconsin).

HealthNet connect has identified four network factors that have been critical to its success:
  1. Healthcare information traveling on the data network is prioritized over other network traffic to enable faster speeds, ensuring high-quality and reliability.
  2. HealthNet connect provides VPN-level security as well as encryption of data transferred over public networks to meet healthcare security requirements.
  3. A “flat network” that enables equal access to information for all participants (vs. information controlled by regional hubs), with additional access to Internet2 and the National Lambda Rail for academic research and education.
  4. A scalable network that allows for expansion – geographically, number of sites, bandwidth, new services, etc.
Identifying health care needs and providing eHealth and IT services to fulfill those needs are some of HealthNet connect’s core competencies. Having a secure and reliable infrastructure to support the services is a strategic benefit.

Rodney Brown

Mr. Brown brings extensive experience building companies and leading sales, operations and service organizations in technology and healthcare. He is the Executive Director of HealthNet connect and CEO of HNcBNc.

The views and opinions on this blog are my own.