HIMSS predicts significant changes to state HIEs

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Statewide health information exchanges (HIEs) must change their business models in order to reflect the shift in the role these initiatives are playing in the healthcare IT landscape, according to a recent report by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

The study, titled “States Will Transform Healthcare through Health IT and HIE Organizations,” outlines suggestions on how statewide HIE initiatives must adapt to changing reimbursement models and adjust to the ever-changing healthcare IT sector.

In an official blog post on the HIMSS website, Jim Douglas, former governor of Vermont, and Jim Geringer, former governor of Wyoming, wrote that HIEs need to work closely with government healthcare agencies, regional extension centers and professional healthcare IT advocates to advance the adoption of HIEs nationwide.

A transition from a “fee-for-service” to a “pay-for-quality” business model was also outlined as one of the major challenges HIEs face in the coming years.

“With few exceptions, such as Rhode Island and Vermont, the state-level HIE business model is almost completely void of private investment, leveraging mostly state and federal funds for development and implementation activities,” reads the report. “Most models that have found success to date are based on driving efficiencies to providers in a fee-for-service model.”

The study also indicated that the introduction of legislation was a potential hurdle for statewide HIEs, noting that the amount of laws passed relating to healthcare IT has increased substantially since 2010.

Levels of HIE adoption vary widely across the country. According to MedCity News, states like Washington have received significant federal funding to launch large healthcare IT initiatives, while states such as Louisiana have actually returned grants, stating they do not plan to implement statewide HIE initiatives.