HIMSS, MGMA launch HIE toolkit

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The Healthcare Management and Information Systems Society (HIMSS) and the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) have launched a toolkit for physicians intended to facilitate easier transitions to health information exchange (HIE) projects.

Known as the Ambulatory Health Information Exchange Toolkit, the web-based collection of resources offers physicians and healthcare IT personnel an overview of HIEs, a series of regulatory and compliance guidelines, several studies evaluating the return on investment of HIE initiatives, and recommended resources for further reading, according to the HIMSS website.

“Physician practices are increasingly employing health information technology to more effectively and efficiently deliver care to their patients,” Susan Turney, president of the MGMA, told Healthcare IT News. “For these ambulatory practices, one important tool in an expanding health IT arsenal is the HIE. Practices can now use this toolkit to leverage the opportunities offered by HIEs to add to the critical health information stream flowing securely from one clinical setting to another.”

The news source reports that additional information on the role of HIEs in accreditation under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ meaningful use federal financial incentives is also available.

According to Information Week, despite significant advances in HIE initiative enrollment across the country, cost remains a substantial challenge for many healthcare facilities. Beacon Partners surveyed more than 200 C-Suite executives in the healthcare industry and revealed that 41 percent of these individuals felt high initial financial investment and a lack of capital funding were major obstacles in establishing an HIE project at their facilities.

Additionally, 38 percent of participants indicated they had operating healthcare IT budgets of less than $1 million, and 21 percent had no budgetary resources allocated to the development of an HIE at all.