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How connecting to your state HIE could help patients even more

Written by David Dieterich | @

Observations from Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative annual meeting

I recently attended the first Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC) annual meeting in Deer Valley, Utah. If you are not familiar with this group, it’s a group of regional or state HIEs that formed a collaborative late last year. (check out more information on their website here).

The SHIEC consists of 28 HIEs from across the U.S., and represents nearly 90 million covered lives.

As was covered in this Healthcare Informatics article, the goal of this group is to “share best practices and ideas about business improvements, and work together on public education and advocacy.”

If you are a state or local HIE and you are not part of this group, I highly encourage you to look into joining. From what I observed at the annual meeting, their commitment to doing what’s right for the patient, and removing the competitive nature for the betterment of the patient, was refreshing. And you can learn a lot from the successes (and failures) of other state HIEs.

A few benefits for HIEs to join SHIEC:

  • Sharing and collaboration of experiences and ideas
  • Get an understanding how others have handled certain situations that may affect you
  • Collaboration on better pricing from vendors
  • Sharing ideas for working with vendors
  • Comparison of legal documents
  • Understanding lessons learned from others in multiple areas

Some observations after attending the SHIEC annual meeting:

The HIE is the glue for connectivity and interoperability. The HIE is the intersection of patient data, interoperability, and future technology.

HIEs are local, and collectively they create a national health highway, as envisioned by Dr. David Brailer ten years ago.

Millions of tax payer dollars have been spent on HIEs, and they have caused a tremendous healthcare revolution in being able to connect disparate entities like payors/hospitals/providers who use a multitude of solutions that don’t and won’t talk to one another, all for the benefit of the patient.

The future should be bright for HIEs, however they need participation from hospitals, providers, and payors to succeed.

The HIEs are mainly not-for-profit organizations, and are focused on the betterment of the patient, and because of this, the HIEs are on their way to being the centerpiece of healthcare.

What does this mean to hospitals?

If you are a hospital, my advice is for you to join an HIE or RHIO in your state. There are regional and state designated entities in various stages of development.

It has been proven time and time again that when hospitals that may not get along sit at the HIE table, they find, over a short period of time, that working together is far more beneficial and profitable than fighting one another.

It also allows for common ground to be met between typical enemies such as providers and payors, hospitals and payors, etc. Being part of a real collective effort has borne out the fact that members of a well-run HIE thrive more together than when standing alone.

There are a lot of HIE types out there. Read this previous blog post to review the differences and find out which one may be right for you.

The future

The recent coming together of HIEs, and the formation of a few good HIE organizations such as SHIEC, NATE, or Mid-states Consortium, are huge plusses for any HIE (public or private).

The collaboration, cooperation, camaraderie, and the strength in numbers is, and will be, to the benefit of those who participate. Don’t be left behind, because your good and honorable efforts may be for naught if you try to go it alone.

If you want to talk about your specific needs, or if you have questions about what HIE options your state offers, please feel free to comment here or contact our team of HIE experts.

Learn the Best Practices in Joining an HIE webcast recording

Topics: Interoperability, HIE, EMPI, Enterprise Master Patient Index, Health Information Exchange

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