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eHI Releases "The State of Health Information Exchange in 2010: Connecting the Nation to Achieve Meaningful Use"

Posted Jul 22 2010 10:00pm
The eHealth Initiative (eHI) released a new report entitled "The State of Health Information Exchange in 2010: Connecting the Nation to Achieve Meaningful Use." The report identifies significant growth in the industry, as well as rising concerns related to new government policies, and an increased focus on patients. The report was shared with several hundred state and industry leaders during the National Forum on Health Information Exchange in Washington, DC. The eHealth Initiative has been tracking the progress of health information exchange initiatives for seven years. This year, eHI identified 234 active health information exchange initiatives across the country and 199 organizations responded to the annual survey.

Several key findings emerged from the survey results
Despite recent funding, significant challenges exist to supporting provider attainment of meaningful use.

The survey revealed that despite expanding capabilities, the ability of HIEs to support providers as they become Stage 1 meaningful user will be challenged by the current number of operational exchanges and current capacity of health information exchange initiatives.

"From the results, it is clear that health information exchange initiatives are focused on supplying the services that will help providers reach their targets," Commented Micky Tripathi, Ph.D., President and CEO of Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative. "While we're on the right track with the service offerings, we still haven't achieved the necessary critical mass of participation."

More research is needed to determine the key characteristics of sustainable systems.

The report confirms that sustainability remains one the key challenges before the initiatives. The State Designated Entities (SDEs) are new entrants in the field, and it is not clear what will be their impact on the initiatives.

"The State Designated Entities (SDEs) are poised to foster growth across the field of health information exchange," said Dr.Marc Overhage, Director of Regenstrief Institute and CEO of Indiana Health Information Exchange. "Among other challenges, the SDEs are going to face the question how to keep the doors open once the federal funding ends. Failure to sustain the SDEs may hinder the overall advancement of health information exchange."

New challenges are rapidly emerging related to federal policy and governance of the health information exchanges.

131 initiatives cited addressing government policy mandates as a major challenge.

More organizations are reporting cost savings through reductions in staff time and redundant testing through the use of health information exchange.

More initiatives reported health information exchange had reduced staff time spent on clerical administration and filing (33); reduced staff time spent on handling lab and radiology results
(30); and decreased dollars spent on redundant tests (28).

Health information exchange initiatives have increased their focus on patients.

Initiatives are providing greater access to patients to not only view (44 in 2010 up from 3 in 2009), but to also update their health information (31 in 2010 up from 7 in 2009).

"There is definite progress here, but it doesn't mean we can rest on our laurels," noted Jennifer Covich Bordenick, CEO at eHealth Initiative. "More initiatives and providers need to document cost savings, and promote services that involve patients in their healthcare."

The report and an interactive map of health information exchange activity are available on the eHI website at: ehealthinitiative.org/2010-survey-health-information-exchange.html

The HIE I am working on, Gorge Health Connect, Inc. is here:  ehealthinitiative.org/gorge-health-connect-inc.html
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