Health Information Exchanges: Advancing The Front Line of Health IT Innovation

Date: 05.15.2013 | Zach Urbina">Zach Urbina

Health Information Exchanges stand poised to fill the necessary niche between healthcare providers and patients in need of better, more efficient care. While digital data from electronic health records should blossom into billions and billions of pieces of information in the coming years, the insight gained from that data, made available via HIEs, will function as a stopgap illuminating for providers how best to coordinate care from a large scale perspective.

The New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC) was founded in 2006 using funds from the State of New York and the federal government to serve as a focal point for health IT in the state of New York.  This early start gave NYeC (pronounced Nice), a leg up in the HIE game, connecting healthcare providers across the state at a time when most providers were primarily concerned with their own organizations.

HIEs stand at the forefront of innovation, creating a new and functional ecosystem, in the cloud computing environment, where medical data can find a renewed role toward higher quality care, at reduced and more streamlined costs.  Connecting these innovations is no easy task, as new standards and policies are needed to mobilize data both readily and securely.  Additional capabilities include access to patient information by multiple providers and patient access to their own health information.

David Whitlinger, executive director of NYeC, recently said, “we believe at this point, nationally, this has the opportunity to take hold.”  HIEs are working hard not just on data interoperability, but also maintaining a sustainable hold in their newly carved niche.  The benefits are very real, giving providers data-rich analytic insights and cross-community care-plan management tools.

To that end, NYeC created the SHIN-NY Service Platform and has enrolled six of the state’s 11 RHIOs to turn their HIE hardware and software over to NYeC, which essentially shrunk it down to a single platform and made it available to participants as a service, much like a public utility, that delivers a lower price per technology unit while maximizing the volume of users, Whitlinger explained.

Though NYeC was as early adopter of HIE capabilities, they are by no means the only HIE in the US.  Joining our Fall 2012 Accountable Care and Health IT Strategies Summit in Chicago (November 27-29) are several c-level executives planning to discuss their hands-on experience with health information exchanges at Day 2 of the conference.

The panel, entitled HIE as a platform for the Sustainable Development of ACOs and New Care Delivery Models will include moderator David Stumpf, CEO, Woodstock Health IT and panelists Raoul Recarey, Executive Director, Illinois Health Information Exchange (IHIE), Roger Holloway, Co-Director IL-HITREC, President Illinois Rural HealthNet, and Brian Ralston, CMIO, Vanguard Health Chicago.

2012 Fall Accountable Care and HIT Strategies Summit, November 27-29
conference information | conference registration

  • The Illinois Office of Health Information Technology (OHIT) was created by Executive Order 2010-1, signed by Governor Pat Quinn on February 12, 2010. OHIT works to promote the development of health information technology, increase the adoption and meaningful use of electronic health records, assure the privacy and security of electronic health information, and direct the State’s Health Information Exchange (HIE) implementation efforts.
  • IL-HITREC is a collaboration of several healthcare and educational organizations that are focused on providing education, outreach and technical assistance to priority primary care providers within the state of Illinois, outside the City of Chicago.
  • Illinois Rural HealthNet (IRHN) is a high-speed, 1000-mile, fiber-optic network.


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