Below are a few of the most frequently asked questions on the Mass HIway:
Q. What is the Mass HIway?
The Mass HIway is the statewide Massachusetts Health Information Exchange (HIE). The HIway enables the electronic movement of health-related information among diverse organizations, such as doctors offices, hospitals, laboratories, pharmacies, skilled nursing facilities and health plans.
The Mass HIway facilitates the exchange of clinical information among healthcare information systems, while maintaining the meaning of the information being exchanged, regardless of provider affiliation, location or differences in technology.
Note: The Mass HIway is not the health insurance exchange (HIX). That is a separate program called the HealthConnector.
Q. Who can use the Mass HIway?
The Mass HIway is available to healthcare organizations which are involved in coordinating patient care, e.g. hospitals, medical practices, laboratories, pharmacies, long term care and behavioral health organizations, health plans.
Eligible organizations must be a legal entity that is a Covered Entity or a Business Associate of a Covered Entity and may range from a solo practitioner to a large healthcare delivery system.
To ensure that the Mass HIway provides a secure environment for participating organizations all potential users will go through a verification process by the state before their account is activated.
Q. How may the Mass HIway benefit my organization?
When doctors need to share patient health information with providers or institutions outside (or, even within) their organization, gathering and communicating patient health information via fax or mail can take hours or even days. Sometimes information may be missing or not available at all, leaving providers with an incomplete picture of a patient’s health status.
The Mass HIway is a critical component of enabling electronic health information exchange among the Commonwealth’s healthcare community. Organizations that are connected to the HIway can directly benefit from participating in the state-wide health information exchange and begin to:
- Improve and streamline care coordination
- Reduce medical errors/Improve patient safety
- Reduce duplication
- Support Meaningful Use achievement
- Reduce costs throughout the care delivery system
- Ease and improve public health reporting and analytics
- Provide a foundation for accountable care organizations and value-based healthcare models
- Enhance patient care communication among providers
- Increase patient engagement with providers on care plans
Q. How much does it cost to join the Mass HIway?
Participating organizations pay an annual fee for participation with the Mass HIway. The Mass HIway rate card describes the annual participation rate by tier and type of connection.
Q. How do I join the HIway?
An organization can start the process by calling 1-855-MA-HIWAY (1-855-624-4929) and then select option 1, or email email@example.com. To learn more, also review the "Enrollment" tab in the HIway Toolkit.
Q. Is the information I send over the Mass HIway secure?
Yes, information sent over the Mass HIway is private and secure. The Mass HIway enforces, a “trust fabric”, which is a set of technical security tools and approaches, and legal policies to which all participants must agree as per the Participation Agreement.
A message sent via the Mass HIway is encrypted so that it is readable only by the intended receiver. Even if someone were able to intercept a secure Mass HIway message, he/she would be unable to decrypt it or read it.
The Mass HIway uses security best practices designed to keep health information private and secure. These practices are mandated by federal and state government and include physical, administrative and technical safeguards.
Q. Is connecting to the Mass HIway required to achieve Meaningful Use in Massachusetts?
For Meaningful Use Stage 2 and 3, providers are required to use HIE to electronically exchange EHR data with other providers when patient care is transitioned from one provider to another. Using the Mass HIway is an option to satisfy this requirement.
We help organizations and their providers understand the technical options available to securely exchange information on the Mass HIway to meet Meaningful Use requirements.
For Medicaid EHR Incentive Payment Program questions regarding Meaningful Use requirements, contact:
Medicaid EHR Incentive Payment Program Operations at 1-855-MassEHR firstname.lastname@example.org
Q. Is my organization required to connect to the Mass HIway?
Massachusetts regulations 101 CMR 20.00 requires that certain medical providers in the state connect to the Mass HIway. To learn more, click here.
Q. Do I need an EHR system to connect to the Mass HIway?
No, you may connect to the Mass HIway using Webmail, which is a web-based secure messaging product that leverages the services of the Mass HIway.
Q. What if I have several EHR systems at my facility?
Many factors come into play when evaluating a connection to the Mass HIway. This becomes especially important when thinking through the connection of multiple data sources, e.g. inpatient EHR, outpatient EHR, ancillary clinical systems.
Factors to consider include: the number of data sources, the degree of current connectivity between these systems, the staff resources to support integration.
Q. Are Massachusetts healthcare organizations connected to the Mass HIway?
Yes, for example, the following organizations use the Mass HIway.
- Atrius Health
- Baystate Health
- Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
- Children’s Hospital, Boston
- Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative
- Network Health
- Partners Healthcare
- Tufts Medical Center
- Vanguard Health Systems
Check out the HIway Connections Map to view many more organizations that are connected. Additional organizations continue to connect to the Mass HIway.
Q. How do I find out if care providers in my referral network are connected to the Mass HIway?
You can use the HIway Connections Map, or the Provider Directory 2.0 to see who is connected.
The HIway team will help you find appropriate trading partners, or support you connecting your preferred trading partner to the Mass HIway.
Q. Does the Mass HIway maintain a clinical repository?
No. The Mass HIway does not maintain a repository of clinical data.
Q. What are my Mass HIway connection options?
There are a (four) ways you may connect to the Mass HIway:
Direct: If your EHR has an integrated gateway, you can potentially use this service to connect your EHR directly to the Mass HIway.
Connect Device: If you need a gateway service to the HIway, this preconfigured Direct-compliant device is an option.
HISP: If you have an existing HISP connection, you can work with your HISP provider to connect to the Mass HIway via the HISP.
Webmail: For organizations that have no EHR, or are unable to export data from their EHR, Webmail may be a good option.
To learn more, click here.