States, providers still sorting out myriad HIE issues

Anyone involved in health information exchange--and that should be just about everyone working with an EMR, if Uncle Sam has anything to say about it--would do well to heed the advice of Jason Hess, general manager of clinical research at KLAS Enterprises.

"Laying pipe isn't enough," Hess, tells CRM Buyer, in the first of a series on HIE. "You still need some ground rules related to data access, data safety, other legal issues and ease of use."

HIE, of course, is one of the stated goals of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and a key component of meaningful use. "The whole idea is to be able to get the data to follow the patient, whether it's within a local or regional setting or around the country," explains Chris Muir, senior program analyst with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. ONC and other HHS divisions are promoting HIE via cooperative agreements with states, the network of Regional Extension Centers and the Beacon Communities program.

While there are national standards for interoperability, HIEs are free to operate on their own terms, with whatever technology they choose. This potentially creates compatibility issues, as anyone who's ever tried to send data from one healthcare organization to another that has a different EMR vendor is acutely aware. Overlapping HIE entities also could pose a challenge. "There's a risk of too many cooks in the kitchen," Hess says.

And then there are the related issues of privacy and consumer trust. A lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union against a Rhode Island HIE called Currentcare clearly shows that trust is far from assured.

For more:
- check out this CRM Buyer story, via E-Commerce Times