Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Health Information Exchange Efforts Heat Up

The need for robust health information exchange (HIE) continues to grow, and not just because it is a part of the meaningful use incentive program. Having infrastructure to support HIE will be a critical component to enable new payment and care delivery models like accountable care organizations and medical homes.

Background on HIE Efforts

There has been a strong national effort in developing the Nationwide Health Information Network (NwHIN), as well as a dramatic increase in local and regional efforts to create viable health information exchange organizations (HIOs). These efforts include the Direct Project, which created a simple, secure, scalable, standards-based way for participants to send authenticated, encrypted health information directly to known, trusted recipients over the Internet. The Direct Project -- which was sponsored by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT -- has become an important on-ramp to the health information superhighway.

But just as state and local governments alone could not build and maintain the Interstate Highway system, the federal government has stepped in to provide funding and a policy framework to develop the NwHIN. As part of the HITECH Act -- most famous for its incentives for the meaningful use of electronic health records -- 56 states and territories received $548 million to build out HIE capabilities at the state level, with a requirement that nearly a third of their budget be allocated toward interstate exchange...

Read more at my iHealthBeat post 


  1. Because HIEs are able to pull data from multiple installed clinical information systems in the hospitals, clinics, physician practices of the Exchange, HIEs provide the real-time delivery of clinical data to providers at the point-of-care at the moment-of-need. A patient centric HIE model allows visibility of this data without duplication in various clinical silos enabling a holistic approach to care delivery and a focus on health rather than healthcare. HIEs are becoming the key structural component that will enable IDNs to improve patient care and lower costs by offering the possibility of eliminating redundant diagnostic tests and reducing erroneous therapies in patients.

    HIEs are heating up because they alone have the technological reach and clinical depth to give providers and patients the accuracy of patient information required to improve care across the entire spectrum of care. And most importantly, they have become mature enough to demonstrate economic, as well as, quality of care results.

    John Tempesco, CMO, ICA

  2. You raise an important point @ICALeader on the importance of patient centric HIE...