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Report finds three-quarters of states are developing a health information exchange


WASHINGTON Three-quarters of states have begun developing some kind of health information exchange, according to a report released by the State-Level HIE Consensus Project.

The project’s director, Lynn Dierker of the American Health Information Management Association, told a Health and Human Services Department advisory panel that the need for health care reform generally falls behind the creation of state-level HIE organizations, along with the need to keep patients’ data private and secure.

The HIEs are public/private partnerships and rarely part of state governments, she said. They usually include stakeholders from many interest groups, and they serve the public interest, operate cost-effectively and protect the privacy of patients whose records move through the network.

Also, state-level HIEs want to participate in the federal advisory body American Health Information Community’s successor organization, which is being created as a public/private partnership outside HHS, Dierker said. Synergy is needed between national and state-level health information technology programs and other health reform initiatives such as quality-of-care measurement and pay-for-performance incentives.

Among other activities in the coming year, the project will decide whether it is desirable to accredit HIEs that meet certain criteria and how to sustain organizations after a start-up period. In addition, the relationship of state-level HIEs to the planned Nationwide Health Information Network remains undefined, the report states.

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