HIE creation requires planning, flexibility

Preparation and flexibility are two key ingredients in the recipe for creating a working health information exchange, Sonal Patel, vice president of client services for healthcare IT software company Corepoint Health, told Government Health IT in a recent interview. Patel outlined several tips to help hospital executives with their HIE efforts.

Taking small steps at the outset in order to devise a calculated plan is crucial, Patel said, because executives are faced with a lot more questions early on in the HIE process. Specifically, she said, they must answer questions about the "surrounding market" in order to solidify a plan of attack.

To that end, flexibility--both in strategy and technology choice--also is key, since HIEs aren't exactly a cookie-cutter process as of yet, Patel said. Exchanges, she said, are still in a "learning phase," with everyone trying to figure out the best method for utilization. "We've seen if you have the right technology in place to be nimble ... it makes it easier to switch gears quickly," Patel said.

Additionally, education is a must, according to Patel, particularly with regard to employees. Standards, privacy issues, security regulations--everything needs to be made clear in order to move forward. "[Organizations must] understand what part of the equation they want to pursue, and their people will make a difference," she said.

For more:
- read the Government Health IT post

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