New eHI Report Shows HIE on the Rise

Successful data exchange continues to be a vital aspect of current healthcare reform and care delivery models, including accountable care organizations and the patient-centered medical home model, according to a report from the eHealth Initiative.

The “2012 Report on Health Information Exchange: Supporting Healthcare Reform” survey offers insight into the progress of health IT and data exchange in the US. The report analyzed both formal health information exchange organizations, like HIEs and RHIOs, as well as providers who independently exchange data on health reform topics such as the overall exchange landscape, stakeholder participation in data exchange, and financial sustainability.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Data exchange is on the rise. The survey was delivered to 322 organizations in 2012, in comparison with 255 in 2011.
  • The environment is strong for establishing HIE organizations. The survey received responses from 54 new organizations, and the number of exchange initiatives in advanced stages of development increased over 2011.
  • Data exchange plays an important role in current healthcare reform efforts. Over half of responding initiatives stated that they currently support accountable care organizations or patient-centered medical homes, with additional respondents reporting that they have plans to do so.
  • Federal funding continues to support many initiatives. Respondents indicated federal funding as “a substantial source of financial support.”
  • Organizations plan to achieve financial sustainability. Of the 39 state-designated HIEs that responded, 37 reported that they expected to remain sustainably operational following the expiration of HITECH Act funding.
  • Use of Direct is expanding. The number of HIEs offering The Direct Project secure email has more than doubled since the 2011 survey, growing from 25 organizations to 59. Additional organizations reported having plans to do so.
  • The competition is growing. HIE organizations report facing challenges related to competition from other HIEs, vendors, and stakeholders in the marketplace.

 

Despite federally funded state-level HIE nearing the end stages of HITECH Act funding, all HIEs continue to gain ground in US healthcare as a result of such initiatives as the “meaningful use” EHR Incentive Program requirements, new care delivery models, and an emphasis on quality outcomes and increased efficiency, according to the report. To read the full report, visit the eHealth Initiative website.

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