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Keep it Simple, the Key to a Successful HIE

July 22, 2010
by Jennifer Prestigiacomo
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With 900-lb gorilla Verizon Business getting into the cloud computing ring last week with its HIE product, alongside other heavyweights like Microsoft’s Amalga and the AT&T Healthcare Community Online. One can’t help but imagine what the future of cloud technology will be and what other non-HIT core players will step into the ring. Which companies will the market support and which will be more successful? The Axolotls and Medicitys or the Verizons or Microsofts? Or both?

Cloud based solutions have been becoming more popular in the healthcare industry. According to a report released earlier this year by consulting firm Accenture, 32 percent of healthcare respondents use cloud computing applications and 73 percent plan to transfer some applications to a cloud-based model. Healthcare was on par with other industries as far as rate of adoption, but unsurprisingly lagged behind the technology and financial services industries.

Besides the burgeoning HIE vendor market, I’m also very interested by the different models for health information exchanges and the different approaches to sustainability. According to KLAS’ February HIE study, the second major concern regarding HIEs was financial viability and sustainability. This sentiment has been echoed with many CIOs and HIE executive directors I’ve spoken with.

I think the key with setting up an HIE business model, like many enterprises, is to keep it simple. KLAS also noted that among the 89 HIEs it polled, the ones with the simplest approaches were the most successful. I recently spoke with the Image Movement of Montana (IMOM), a collaborative that shares radiology images in Montana, and IMOM member Eric Maki, Great Falls Clinic’s IT manager, clearly underlines that principle:

“One of our guiding principles was we didn’t want to reinvent the wheel because everyone has their own processes internally in their organizations. All we wanted to do was eliminate the process once the right person was identified, the right patient was identified, the right image was identified, we wanted to change the burning of the CD, throwing it in a FedEx envelope and spending the $12 to send it out.”

IMOM could have done a lot more complex initiatives like becoming a full-blown HIE, but in choosing to keep their goals lean—just sharing radiology images— I think they will remain successful. You can get the whole IMOM story in the September issue of Healthcare Informatics, due out in late August.

 

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Jennifer Presti...