HIE: Health Information Emperor Has No Clothes

No sooner than we posted our blog on achieving interoperability, Health IT News posted an article titled “Sustainability threatens HIEs even as their numbers increase”

If you read through the article, it will not be hard for you to figure out that the major problems HIEs face is that they do not have solutions that will make them successful in creating healthcare interoperability. While some HIEs report they are independent of Federal funding and are sustainable, most report they are completely reliant on tax payer dollars. What is frustrating is that this money was passed out without the assurance there was a real plan in place to use the money effectively and achieve the goals of a connected healthcare infrastructure where data moved freely and securely.

The sentiment shared by a lot of integrators and state agencies is that these HIEs do not have a strategy for achieving interoperability and that they are way behind.

As mentioned before, it is not completely fair (nor in this author’s nature) to accuse the HIEs of sleeping on the job or not trying, but the stark reality is that archaic means for achieving interoperability are still being used to solve the problem. When the White House passed the HITECH Act, the idea was to bring the healthcare system into the 21st century with fresh ideas and new technology, but instead, what we are seeing is the Emperor has no clothes.


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