Verizon: Transcription network open to mHealth

By Brian Dolan
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Dr. Peter Tippett, VP, Verizon BusinessHealth Information Exchange networks (HIEs) aim to be the glue that binds electronic medical records and other health information repositories and sources (including mHealth) together -- and there's a substantial amount of stimulus money being thrown at HIEs to drive adoption.

The ARRA stimulus bill provides for around $40 billion to move the industry onto EMRs, but about $18 billion of that sum is set aside to enable HIEs across states and localities," Verizon Business's security solutions and enterprise innovation VP Dr. Peter Tippett told MobiHealthNews during an interview at HIMSS. Most of that money is going to help the industry ensure that all systems are using the same fields of information and the same format, Tipped said. For example, a discreet field for glucose requires those entering health data to present the data in a certain way -- if it's not in that field in the right form then it's likely not going to be passed along through the exchange, according to Tippett.

"The goal has been to convert those 100,000 medical applications out there to this particular data format and -- voila --  then everything will be easy and interoperable," Tippett said.

More than 90 percent of physicians today use dictation to record notes -- whether they use a tape recorder or a smartphone app -- it's almost US physicians, Tippett said. Each year, more than 1.2 billion patient notes are created in the US, while only 25 percent of those notes are shared with other providers. For those that are shared, nearly all of them are either faxed or mailed to hospitals, physician officers or ambulatory clinics, according to Tippett.

At HIMSS, Verizon launched an IT platform that seeks to enable an exchange network for the digitized transcriptions of the notes that physicians dictate about patients' treatments and care regimens. Under an agreement announced last November, Verizon is launching the exchange with the Medical Transcription Service Consortium, which supports transcription services for 350,900 physicians in the US.

By July, Verizon plans to have its exchange platform live for the sending and receiving of patient notes between physicians. Two months later, in September, the telecom provider aims to enable US physicians to exchange any digital medical information with each other. Finally, by the third quarter, Verizon intends for its exchange network to send and receive Electronic Health Information data to and from any valid entity.

Tippett said that by the third quarter of this year, Verizon would be ready to facilitate exchanges for mobile health applications, too. Tippett said that the telecom's exchange might make Verizon an attractive partner for those in mHealth, because working through the exchange would enable the app provider to connect with a potential base of more than 350,000 physicians, 2,700 clinics and almost 2,500 hospitals that are in the Medical Transcription Service Consortium.