Toolkit offers guidance for rural participants in HIEs

The ONC's National Rural Health Resource Center has released a toolkit of resources aimed at rural health information exchange stakeholders including hospitals, health networks and others.

It offers "policy models" adapted from The Connecting for Health Common Framework, including model privacy policies and procedure language needed for an HIE. It includes these resources:

  • "First Considerations"--A document focused on assessing readiness to forming or joining an HIE. 

  • Guide to DIRECT connectivity standards, including descriptions of technologies used, a glossary of terms and recommendations on implementing DIRECT.

  • ROI calculator--A spreadsheet to help participants calculate the costs and potential savings of implementing an HIE.

  • A privacy and security overview and resource list.

The West Virginia Health Information Network launched an online tool last month to help members assess their readiness to join the state's health information exchange. Providers will be required to provide background, technical and organization data in an online survey to help the exchange understand the provider's connectivity goals and the basic ability of their EHR systems to do so.

In late January, the Health IT Policy and Standards Committees held a joint meeting in Washington, D.C., to discuss opportunities and barriers to HIE implementation. Though the tone of the meeting was generally positive, lack of patient ID standards and technical knowledge were cited as hurdles to overcome.

The ONC also recently released five reports to increase understanding of health information exchange for policymakers and researchers. John Rancourt, a program analyst with ONC, warned in a Health IT Buzz blog that those involved in HIE implementation could easily "under reach" or "overreach" in their efforts without proper guidance.

To learn more:
- find the toolkit

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