ONC reports aim to boost understanding of HIE efforts

Five recently released reports sponsored by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT aim to increase understanding of health information exchange for policymakers and researchers involved in the implementation of related efforts, according to John Rancourt, a program analyst with ONC, posting on the Health IT Buzz blog.

Rancourt warns that those involved in HIE implementation could easily "under reach" or "overreach" in their efforts without proper guidance, something he says he thinks the reports can provide.

Each report, Rancourt says, offers background information and analysis on a different theme. The five themes include:

  • Query-based exchange

  • Consumer engagement in health information exchange

  • A market assessment and policy considerations for HIE-driven notification and subscription services

  • Master data management within HIE infrastructures

  • A market assessment of provider directories solutions

The query-based exchange report, according to Rancourt, finds that the number of patient record queries indicates the success of an information exchange. "One of the most revealing aspects of this report is a chart contrasting six successful HIEs with two shuttered organizations across nearly 24 data points," Rancourt says. "One of these data points is the average number of patient record queries per month that each entity is receiving or had received. Those HIEs that are considered successful have figures ranging from 1,548 to 333,333 per month, while the closed HIEs had between 167 and 250 queries per month."

The provider directories solutions report, meanwhile, focuses on explaining concepts associated with the technology, which serves as "a type of electronic white pages that allows one provider to look up contact information for another provider," Rancourt says. It also talks about how such tools can be used to create profit beyond the requirements of clinical health information exchange, something Rancourt calls "critical" as sustainability past the grant period continues to be an issue.

ONC's Health IT Policy and Standards Committees held a joint meeting all day Tuesday to discuss HIE barriers and opportunities. Several providers and other health IT stakeholders--including Bill Spooner, CIO at San Diego-based Sharp HealthCare, and David Kibbe, president and CEO of DirectTurst.org--gave testimony regarding their HIE experiences.

To learn more:
- read the Health IT Buzz post
- download all of the reports