The disbandment of the Santa Barbara County Care Data Exchange provides important lessons on the challenges and promises of making health information more portable, say health information technology (IT) leaders in a series of articles published on Health Affairs' Web site, a journal of health policy.
Former national health IT coordinator David Brailer, M.D., who helped design and guide efforts at the Santa Barbara County Care Data Exchange, cites the following lessons learnt from the project:
- Tight, top-down control over implementation of data exchange efforts does not work, and projects need to be more decentralized.
- RHIOs must identify business models for health data exchange that address healthcare providers' concerns that such exchange will harm their financial viability.
- Outright subsidies of health IT projects can undermine progress.
- HIE can drive value only if it supports clinical decisions sufficiently to influence their outcome.
- Data standardization, prioritization, development and maintenance are needed for U.S. health IT efforts to succeed.