HIE Plans in 50 States but Where is the Progress?

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Thursday, 28 February 2013 16:06

In 2010 the ONC divided $547,703,438 dollars between all 50 states(and US territories) for the purpose of funding the creation of their statewide Health Information Exchanges (HIE). The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC)  continues to promote health information exchanges even as the debate over their usefulness is heating up.

So what states have created their HIEs in the past three years since the original funding?  While doing research for this article I realized there wasn’t much written about individual state HIEs. Per the ONC website setup for HIEs, statehieresources.org, all 50 states submitted their plans between 2010 and 2011. A few states still appearing to be behind, with Connecticut, New Hampshire and Nevada not yet reporting any data to the ONC.

iStock_000009995185XSmall-2Several states have noted that they are downsizing from their original goals.  They all had great ambitions in the beginning but are quickly learning that they were trying to do too much with too little creating what some are calling the “over-architected HIE”. They are focusing on the long-term goal at the expense of the short-term realistic goals. In addition, states are leary of losing their funding from the government before they have an established HIE.  The key obstacles most are seeing; privacy, stakeholder cooperation, and financial sustainability.

A former high ranking ONC official attributes the lack of HIE progress within the states to these factors:

As I read more information about HIEs and the creation of HIEs for this article I came to a few conclusions of my own. I truly believe that someday Health Information Exchanges are going to be a beautiful thing within the Healthcare community. They are a vital piece of the puzzle within the healthcare movement; saving lives and bettering our healthcare system.

But it is a race, between the government and the states. A race to see who comes up with the best interoperable system to connect our nation to its healthcare data. The government gave the states funding to work on the HIE project right alongside of them. They want to see who can create a working system that can be sustained nationwide.  Some states are backpedalling because the government appears to be making up some of the guidelines as they go.  Unfortunately, that is where the funding is coming from right now so it is a reality that must be dealt with.

As a final thought, I say the government can be intimidating, technology can be intimidating, but if you have a solid concept for a good HIE that has the potential to be a nationwide solution, keep pushing forward.

Health Information Technology is really still in its infancy. The possibilities are endless for what technology can do for healthcare.

~ Kristen Price

For more information on how CoreTech Revolution can help your Health Information Exchange grow, Click Here.