Health information exchange: Significant market growth ahead

U.S. healthcare providers will "significantly ratchet up their participation" in health information exchanges (HIE) over the next 18 to 24 months, consulting firm Frost & Sullivan finds in a new market analysis.
The Supreme Court's ruling upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, as well as President Barack Obama's re-election, are fueling the growth, according to the report, "U.S. Health Information Exchange Market: A Comprehensive Guide to Market Dynamics, Technology Vendors and Future Trends."
Additional factors driving market growth include the Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirement for more HIE participation, and technical standards for interoperability, according to an announcement detailing the findings.
"Most healthcare providers realize that, despite the numerous complexities and challenges associated with the exchange of health data, HIE will continue to accelerate," Nancy Fabozzi, principal analyst for Frost & Sullivan Connected Health, said in a statement. "Today, most providers agree that the key issue in HIE is not whether to do it but how best to do it so that benefits are maximized and any potential harm is minimized."
The report identifies five major market trends and issues:
  • Increasing efforts to ensure the ongoing viability of public health information exchange
  • The conflict between information transparency and privacy
  • A short-term benefit for private HIEs driven by the move to accountable care
  • A slight acceleration in cloud and mobile health information exchange
  • Vendors trying to differentiate themselves through innovative value-added HIE services
Factors influencing short- and longer-term HIE market growth include provider consolidation, increased adoption of electronic health records, and cost-reduction and operational efficiency initiatives, according to the executive summary.  Accountable care and value-based purchasing become bigger issues in four years, according to the analysis.
Key restraints to growth are a lack of uniform goals and strategic vision, questions about overall market direction, costs and lack of return on investment (ROI), competing IT priorities and time constraints, and fear of losing competitive market advantage.
A separate study published earlier this year in Perspectives in Health Information Management contended that HIEs need to demonstrate to shareholders how they improve healthcare quality and deliver on ROI.
To learn more:
- here's the report (subscription required)
- read the announcement
Related Articles:
Providers unhappy with HIE vendors' sharing capabilities
Trial and error marks much early HIE implementation
Multistate coalition to test for interoperability of HIEs
Study: Providers turning to consultants when joining HIEs

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