Practice council: HIEs need information, data governance

Consolidation and governance of health information exchanges is crucial as the number of HIEs across the country continues to grow, according to industry experts in an analysis published this month in the Journal of the American Health Information Management Association.

The experts, from the 2013 American Health Information Management Association Health Information Exchange Practice Council, created a subgroup to look at the landscape of HIEs and provide insight into the future of the exchanges.

In its analysis, the council looked at a 2012 eHealth Initiative special report that identified five factors for success for private health information organizations (HIOs).

They agreed with those points, and worked to expand upon them, adding information and data governance to the list, which includes:

  1. Shared vision
  2. Sustainable funding
  3. Broad stakeholders
  4. Physician engagement
  5. Infrastructure
  6. Information and data governance

The council said the addition of information and data governance was crucial because it "allows entities to manage and control information by supporting enterprise endeavors and promoting compliance with its obligations."

The governance subgroup of the federal government's Health IT Policy Committee recently released information on problems in the HIE ecosystem based on several factors, including severity and commonness and the impact on private and secure exchange.

In the analysis from the practice council, members also looked at the economics of HIEs. It noted that HIE organizations must move away from depending on public funding, which is starting to dry up. The council looked at two types of exchange models: subscription-based exchange models and transaction-based exchange models.

Subscription-based models are the "noun," and remain funded because of public investment related to taxation and/or subscription fees.Transaction-based exchange models are the "verb," where the HIE is not seen as an entity and information is updated and moves between electronic health records but is not stored in one place.

The jury is still out on what the best model will be, according to the council, but for now "HIE will need a variety of models to be able to scale up sharing among physicians, hospitals, and patients and across care settings."

However, FierceHealthIT previously reported that progress toward achieving true health information exchange is slower than it should be, and some leaders don't think it's working at all.

To learn more:
- check out the analysis