Black Book: Robust data exchange still a decade away

Despite efforts to create health information exchanges, the United States is still at least 10 years from achieving a secure, robust exchange of patient data, according to a new report from Black Book Research.

Ninety-four percent of America's providers, healthcare agencies, patients and payers remain without meaningful connections, and providers are dropping HIE as a priority. Regional connectivity dropped by 5 percent in the past year, according to the report, which is based on a survey of nearly 2,000 health plan members, 800 physicians, 700 hospital executives, 1,200 insurers and 500 health information technology vendor staffers.

Providers are retreating from complex HIE efforts--in part because of the flawed business models of public HIEs--and instead are waiting to see whether payers foot the bill for significant data-sharing mechanisms. What's more, a growing number of IT vendors are drastically cutting interoperability research and development funding, the report states.

Black Book, last year, said that payers were snubbing public HIEs, reporting that up to 83 percent of the nation's public HIEs were stalling. The new report predicts expansion among payer-owned and private network vendors and the contraction of public HIEs.

"Providers are simply not benefiting financially yet from HIE development. Without proven worth or certain return, the shift to payer investment in private HIEs was inevitable with value-based care emerging," Black Book Managing Partner Doug Brown said in an announcement.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California have put $80 million into an effort to make the health records of nearly a quarter of all Californians accessible to providers online.

Though the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan through 2020 stresses interoperability, a recent paper from the Brookings Institution found that HIE interoperability will not be sustained unless the business models and incentives are changed.

"Unless there is a system in which a part of the financial savings that occur as a result of health information exchange is shared between the entities that engage in exchanging information, there is no reason to believe that the providers will continue to actively exchange health information with each other," Niam Yaraghi, a fellow in governance studies at the Center for Technology Innovation, said.

To learn more:
- find the announcement

Suggested Articles

Two senators introduced legislation to establish a third-party oversight committee to help monitor the implementation of the new EHR system. 

ONC is moving another step closer to implementing a framework designed to improve data sharing between health information networks.

Welcome news to many health IT stakeholders: HHS announced Friday that it is extending the comment period for two proposed interoperability rules.