Life is a Health Information Exchange Highway…

John Moore is a much smarter person than I, and his colleagues at Chilmark research know their stuff, and that is why I was so happy to see Mr. Moore discuss HIEs in his Health IT News Blog on August 4, 2010.

John, in greater eloquence than yours truly could deliver, openly discussed the problems with the haphazard way health information exchange is being approached within the healthcare industry.

Yes, we know that there are large numbers of dollars dedicated to establish a free flowing, secure network of health information; and yes, there is a limited timeline. This is not an excuse to achieve interoperability the wrong way, but instead a call-to-action to do it right!

An interesting point in John’s blog is his comparison to private vs. public HIEs and how they are organized. It should not really be too surprising that private HIEs are more efficient and organized. The private sector’s main goal is optimization to increase margins without comprimising quality (hopefully). States don’t really have the same motivations, and typically they work with grants and funding allocated to special initiative programs thatmust be spent, not conserved. This is not a cheap shot at the state HIEs, just an observation of how projects are organized between the two sectors.

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Mr. Moore goes on to make a great comparison to the Interstate System and Eisenhower’s vision for an interconnected nation, including a statement that like the Interstate Highway System, “it won’t be cheap”. The current amount of funding for public HIEs is half a billion dollars… that is not cheap!

I think that with the right plan in place, we can solve the connectivity problem in a cost-effective way with a reasonable timeline. Having said that, John is right, that a plan and vision will make HIEs a success and will become a “Symbol of Health”.



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