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Two Major Healthcare Collaboratives Partner to Improve Regional Data Sharing

October 17, 2017
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI), a national organization of regional healthcare improvement collaboratives (RHICs), and the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC), a national trade association representing health information exchanges (HIEs), are now joining forces.

Officials attest that the organizations’ combined footprint covers almost 75 percent of the U.S. population, with operations in 44 states. NRHI and SHIEC both work to improve patient care and promote population health while reducing the costs of healthcare, yet they accomplish this by addressing different-yet-related aspects of healthcare.

NRHI represents more than 30 RHICs and state-affiliated partner organizations across the U.S. RHICs are organizations governed by multi-stakeholder boards that include consumers, healthcare providers, payers, and purchasers of healthcare. They are conveners that help their local stakeholders identify opportunities for improving the health and healthcare of their communities, and facilitate planning and implementation of strategies to achieve those improvements. 

Meanwhile, HIEs promote the functioning of RHICs and other types of healthcare organizations by providing the technology foundation for sharing the vast amounts of data that healthcare stakeholders need to share while delivering quality patient care and promoting public health. SHIEC represents more than 50 statewide, regional, and community health information exchanges (HIEs).

Now, the organizations have signed a memorandum of understanding outlining the scope of the partnership, which will initially focus on advancing policies that support regional data sharing; identifying regional partnership opportunities between NRHI and SHIEC members; pursuing opportunities to promote common objectives; and sharing best practices across members of both organizations.

Each organization brings a specialized expertise to the table. NRHI members have experience collecting and reporting on measures of healthcare quality and/or cost, designing initiatives to help healthcare providers improve performance, working directly with employers and other purchasers, and serving as stewards of community-wide data. And SHIEC members have trusted data repositories and are experts in connectivity, serving as problem solvers in their communities.

Dan Porreca, SHIEC’s board chair and executive director of HEALTHeLINK, a regional HIE in New York State, said in a statement, “We’re excited about the potential of this partnership. SHIEC and NRHI member organizations have similar missions with different areas of focus, each helping our communities achieve better, more efficient, and cost-effective patient care. Building closer ties with NRHI’s regional healthcare improvement collaboratives makes good sense because of the potential to allow both organizations to bring claims, clinical, and social determinants of health data together faster, while learning from each other’s areas of strength and experiences.”

Added Marc Bennett, NRHI’s board chair and president and CEO of HealthInsight, a community-based healthcare organization serving several West coast states, “As a member of both organizations, I see this partnership as a natural marriage of the core missions of RHICs and HIEs—improving care and providing the underlying data infrastructure to support that work. RHICs and HIEs each perform overlapping and interconnected functions, but by bringing together our strengths, we can each help amplify the work of the other, and deliver greater value by working hand-in-hand within the communities we serve.”

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