Study Finds HIE Funding At Risk

With 74 percent of health information exchanges (HIEs) reporting financial struggles, efforts to promote them are at risk for failing, a new study warns.

Thirty percent of hospitals and 10 percent of ambulatory practices participate in one of the 119 operational HIEs across the US, according to results of a survey published in Health Affairs.

While this demonstrates significant growth in HIEs above previous surveys, investigators are concerned about dwindling government funding. HIEs were one of the centerpieces of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, and were intended to help facilitate the transfer of electronic health information across delivery settings.

According to the study, HIE “efforts remain heavily dependent on grant funding—much of it from the government—and many are struggling to achieve long-term financial viability.”

To make HIEs more financially sustainable, the study suggests policymakers should consider “approaches to ensure that all stakeholders who benefit from health information exchange pay to support it.” This could be accomplished, they add, by instituting a mandated fee per claim or a dedicated state tax.

“Taken as a whole, these findings are good news for current federal policy efforts but raise real concerns about the future,” the authors write.

Click here to read the full Health Affairs study.


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