The Washington, D.C.-based eHealth Initiative (eHI) annual survey of health information exchange (HIE) released demonstrates an unprecedented amount of patient health information exchanged between physician offices, laboratories and hospitals across the nation, notwithstanding privacy concerns that patients have over the safety and security of their personal information. The eHI 2011 Report on Health Information Exchange: The Changing Landscape documents the growing pains 255 HIE initiatives are experiencing today as they grapple with competing timelines to meet federal requirements, complex systems integration and the uncertain future of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).
Key findings from the 2011 survey include:
- There has been net growth of 9% in the number of initiatives, which total 255 in 2011. At least 10 HIE initiatives have closed or consolidated, and 46 new initiatives responded to the survey. Twenty-four initiatives report that they have sustainable business models, up from 18 in 2010.
- Initiatives are developing complex privacy controls for patients, even in the absence of new federal requirements.
- An increased number of behavioral or mental health providers report providing and viewing more data through exchanges.
- Despite uncertainty about accountable care organizations (ACOs), a quarter of the respondents indicated that they will support an ACO.
- In addition to struggling with business models and value, groups are facing new challenges related to technical aspects and systems integration.
- A majority of initiatives (113) plan to incorporate the federal Nationwide Health Information Network’s (NwHIN) Direct Project into their service offerings.
- The majority of advanced initiatives (85) are offering at least one service that supports Meaningful Use requirements.