Health Information Exchange (HIE) was introduced by President Bush in 2004 (Kruse, Regier & Rheinboldt, 2014) so it is not a new concept. HIE is instrumental in gaining overall population health as it can lead to a reduction in healthcare costs, increase patient safety, and increase health outcomes. Regional Health Information Organizations (RHIOs) are a conglomerate of healthcare providers and patients in a region that exchange healthcare information with the goal of delivering quality care to the individuals they serve. This paper will discuss the pros and cons of RHIOs, key challenges in gaining long term viability, and provide ways in which capital is raised to support HIE.
Pros and Cons of RHIOs
Healthcare can be seen as a highly fragmented industry; a patient may have multiple conditions that require multiple physicians, however, the information that each physician needs may be similar. Tests ordered by one physician specialty may be useful to another physician specialty but many times two tests are ordered out of convenience for the physician. Not only is unnecessary to duplicate the tests, the second test causes a ripple effect of waste. From the lab that took the test, to the physician who interpreted and gave the results, to the patient who had to use time, money, and may have experienced unnecessary pain as a result of the second test.
Conversely, if the second test was not ordered but rather the information from one physician’s office needed to pass to another physician’s office, that process too could be wasteful. First the patient may have to sign a release, then first physician’s office may have to prepare a report for the second physician’s office, the patient may be required ...
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...ocal assessments. However, increasing taxes, in any amount, is a politically heated topic and may be a hard sale to constituents.
Brokerage Fee Model
The brokerage fee model utilizes a third party to offer services through the HIE network. Here the third party could develop an application that is beneficial to an organization. Part of the fee collected for use of the application would be passed on to the HIE as an additional revenue stream.
While health outcomes could increase with the implementation of HIE and RHIOs, implementing such programs are not easy. The financial burden to take on such a task may be more than some organizations want to take on, however, with healthcare reform it is inevitable that all organizations must increase health outcomes and reduce costs. A well planned HIE and RHIO just may be the way to population health.
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