Health Information Exchange in Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Case Study Findings: Final Report. B. Inclusion of Site Involvement in a Regional Health Information Organization (RHIO) or Health Information Exchange Network (HIEN)

09/18/2007

Because of the growing impact that RHIOs or HIENs are having in facilitating HIE, the criteria for selection also included sites with RHIO or HIEN involvement. The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) defines a RHIO as a group of organizations with a business stake in improving the quality, safety, and efficiency of (health) care delivery (Healthcare Informatics in collaboration with AHIMA and AMDIS, 2005). Because of the multiple issues (e.g., business, legal, legislative, technological, clinical, and cultural) involved in cross-organizational interoperable HIE, support for HIE organizations has become more attractive at both the state and federal levels. While grants are normally used for start-up and planning phases, recent surveys have indicated that additional funding sources for RHIO start-up and continuation is necessary (Healthcare Informatics in collaboration with AHIMA and AMDIS, 2005; HIMSS and the Center for Health Information and Decision Systems, 2006).

In response to this recognized need, federal programs have emphasized and increased the amount of funding for grants and demonstrations for RHIO and HIEN planning and implementation. Over 40 states are in some phase of planning, implementation, or have projects that are focused on HIE organizations (HIMSS and the Center for Health Information and Decision Systems, 2006).

As there are no "best practices" that a RHIO or HIEN can use to start itself, communities often have produced their own design, specific to their own needs, with funding or planned funding coming from a variety of sources, including hospitals; employers; physician groups; non-profit groups; insurers; local, state and Federal Government; user fees; financial incentives; and private investors. As such, involvement in collaboration with other area organizations was viewed as an important factor for inclusion in site selection.

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