6 success factors for HIE participation by a health system

The participation of health system leadership and timely and accurate communication are among the biggest factors contributing to the success of hospital participation in a health information exchange, according to research published this month in the Journal of Medical Internet Research – Medical Informatics.

Through a combination of interviews, data analysis and direct observation, the researchers--from the University of South Carolina and Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California--pinpoint six factors for success in examining the implementation of Falls Church, Virginia-based Inova Health System into the ConnectVirginia EXCHANGE, the state's HIE. They include:

  1. A willingness to develop workarounds for unforeseen challenges, such as incompatible electronic health record systems
  2. A prioritization of HIE implementation by the implementation site
  3. Executive buy-in and participation
  4. Communication, especially by and between the HIE and the health system
  5. Allocation of appropriate human resources from Day 1
  6. A project champion who can both make tough decisions and delegate authority

"This case study demonstrates that interorganizational governance of HIE implementation is replete with interrelated and overlapping technical, organizational and governance issues," the study's authors write. "The complexities of collaboration appear to assist, as well as detract from, realizing a set of common goals."

Brookings Institution Fellow Niam Yaraghi recently likened HIEs to Facebook for doctors, saying that providers are concerned about who else has joined them and what they're sharing through the network.

According to recently published research in Health Affairs, however, HIE adoption among physicians is relatively low. Four in 10 hospitals reported they can electronically share data with other providers and only 14 percent share data with ambulatory care providers or hospitals outside their organizations.

Julia Adler-Milstein, assistant professor at the School of Information at the University of Michigan and an author of the study, believes that there is a lot of work needed to improve.

"It's clear that even though the data is sitting in electronic health records, it's not being widely shared yet," she said.

To learn more:
- here's the study in JMIR - Medical Informatics

Read more on