CA Helps Secure Louisiana Rural Health Information Exchange

A Model for the Nation: Louisiana Rural Health Information Exchange Securely Shares Patient Information for Improved Healthcare, Compliance

Jan 12, 2010, 09:30 ET from CA

ISLANDIA, N.Y., Jan. 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- CA, Inc. (Nasdaq: CA), with technology from its Security and Compliance business unit, is helping secure the Louisiana Rural Hospital Coalition's online Louisiana Rural Health Information Exchange (LARHIX). Launched to address vulnerabilities that were exposed by the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina, LARHIX is helping improve healthcare for residents in the state's rural communities, while helping to control costs and comply with various healthcare and privacy regulations.

LARHIX supports care for more than 1.5 million patients and provides access to over 1 million patient records by connecting 25 hospitals.  

LARHIX Energized by Natural Disaster

With paper records wiped out by the effects of Hurricane Katrina, patients were faced with repeating costly medical tests just to receive their regular medications. At the same time, physical healthcare facilities were strained to the breaking point: the state was reduced to a single Level 1 Trauma Center in Shreveport, La., which operated at 100% capacity for almost three years.

Named ADVANCE's "2009 IT Project of the Year" and cited by a number of healthcare experts as a model for the nation, LARHIX not only enables patients' records to be stored electronically and accessed securely by physicians, it also connects Louisiana's urban hospitals and rural facilities, enabling physicians to consult with specialists remotely, thereby improving the quality of patient care at minimal cost.

"The State of Louisiana is a microcosm of the entire country when it comes to healthcare," said Alan Levine, secretary, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. "Costs escalate while patient care suffers. To address this problem, Louisiana is using technology to help provide the best healthcare possible while controlling cost, maintaining patient privacy and complying with mandates such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act."

CA was tasked with protecting access to the LARHIX portal and the patient information it contained. The solution incorporates various products within CA's Security Management portfolio that help secure access to data resources and Web applications, manage and protect user identities, and manage security events and information. This allows doctors and clinicians to more securely collaborate on patient care and helps provide the means for other doctors in the state have input on a patient's condition without the added cost of patient transport and repeated testing.

"The security infrastructure for the Health Information Exchange was the most important aspect of the project. We were looking for a system that could protect against unauthorized access to patient information from inside, outside and everything in between, while ensuring scalability for future growth," said Jamie Welch, chief information officer for the LARHIX and Louisiana Rural Hospital Coalition. "We already have supported better care from the participating facilities by improving access to medical data and treatment information, and minimizing patient travel."

Tools for Security and Compliance

The CA security products used to protect the LARHIX also foster a Lean IT environment as they help streamline processes to eliminate wasted effort in operational flow for accessing health records and reporting compliance. For example, CA Identity Manager provides centralized and automated identity administration as well as self-service functionality to users to manage things like their own password resets. Allowing users to resolve certain issues on their own improves their experience and reduces service desk costs. In addition, CA SiteMinder® secures and manages access to the LARHIX Web portal and authenticates hospital staff.

As electronic patient records systems and regulatory requirements grow, the security system protecting the LARHIX can scale to meet expansion needs. The LRHC expects the system to eventually support 2,500 unique identities or roles, with more users added each year along with an increase in patient records.

"Security and adherence to HIPAA regulations was of primary concern as LRHC began the health information exchange project. CA worked closely with various partners on the project to help ensure access to the portal and that the data behind it was protected," said Shirley Patron, account manager at CA. "The success of the Louisiana Rural Health Information Exchange serves as an example to the nation of how technology can help improve healthcare while reducing costs."


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