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Many RHIOs Seriously Ailing

December 11, 2007
by root
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Nearly one-quarter of 145 RHIOs included in a recent survey were defunct, according to a new study by Harvard researchers.

Only 20 of the 145 were deemed to be of at least modest size and exchanging some clinical data. Five of those RHIOs exchanged data for a specific population, such as Medicaid enrollees, the uninsured, or patients with a chronic illness like diabetes. Only 15 RHIOs exchanged clinical data across a range of patient populations.

According to the researchers who conducted the study, most successful RHIOs started by focusing their efforts on exchanging test results from laboratories and imaging centers. Exchange of other data — such as clinical notes — is much more difficult to achieve, partly because cost savings from such initiatives are less tangible, they stated.

Other facilitators of success include:

  • Data standards that enable different computer systems to “talk” to each other
  • Health data privacy and security safeguards
  • Community buy-in including overcoming healthcare providers’ competitive concerns
  • Financial incentives to provide high-quality, cost-effective care


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