237454 Health information exchange and directory services: Public health's role

Monday, October 31, 2011: 10:30 AM

Noam Arzt, PhD , HLN Consulting, LLC, San Diego, CA
(1) Background: Directory services are an important component of health information exchange (HIE) and a key component of many HIE architectures. Many types of directory services are useful, including lookup of individuals, organizations, and service offerings. The national discussion is focused primarily on entity-level provider directories and individual-level provider directories that might be made available to facilitate interoperability. Requirements for Meaningful Use especially encourage the deployment of provider directories to facilitate those transactions. (2) Objective/purpose: To describe how the notion of directory services has evolved, and how public health can play a part in their creation and use. (3) Methods: Many State-level HIE projects consider directory services to be one of the elements of common infrastructure that are required to promote HIE within (and even between) states, even if statewide infrastructure goes little beyond that. There are no ready-made directories, however, of potential state health information exchange participants, though there are a number of potential candidate sources of directory information. (4) Results: There are a number of technologies already in use which may offer some opportunities to standardize directory services, though they do not all provide equivalent functionality and no clear winner has yet emerged. "Push" transactions may have stronger requirements for both entity-level and individual-level directories, as one needs to not only be certain as to the destination of a transaction, but also the security of that transaction needs to be assured. Specific case studies from several state HIE programs will be examined. (5) Discussion/conclusions: Public health agencies have a lot to gain from participation in directory services, both as potential suppliers of authoritative directory data and as users of directory data in interoperability transactions. This activity can continue to keep public health at the forefront of HIE activities.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Explain the role of directory services in facilitating health information exchange Identify potential sources of directory information within public health Describe how several states have integrated directory services into their HIE infrastructure

Keywords: Public Health Informatics, Health Information Systems

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been active nationally in HIE activities and in public health informatics for 15+ years
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.