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Data mining holds promise for exchange organizations: report


By Joseph Conn
Posted: August 2, 2011 - 12:30 pm ET
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The National eHealth Collaborative has released an 86-page report (PDF) that aims to identify what makes a health information exchange successful, based on the experiences of 12 exchange organizations, including not-for-profit, for-profit and government-run organizations.

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As summarized in the report, Secrets of HIE Success Revealed: Lessons from the Leaders, successful exchanges coordinate "ongoing and effective stakeholder engagement" and maintain stakeholder trust so as not to create a perception that the exchange gives one participating organization a competitive advantage over another. In addition, the report states, successful exchanges ensure that shared health data is accurate and secure.

Barriers to health information exchange growth and success include a lack of generally accepted and discrete health information interchange standards, according to the report. The report's authors note, “Disparate methods of implementing the Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP) C 32 standard and the Clinical Document Architecture (CDA) were often cited as examples of problem areas and are sources of frustration."

Eight of the 11 private-sector health information exchanges cited in the report claim to be financially self-sustaining, with user fees covering operating costs. Only three of them received financial support from payers. The ability to raise additional capital and provide data-mining and analysis services is seen as key to future growth and financial viability, according to the report.

"All of the (health information exchanges) profiled in this report have significant opportunities for growth in and beyond their existing markets," the report's authors write. "The leadership teams of these organizations also see opportunities to expand their technology service offerings. Applications to leverage patient information and attract payers and (accountable care organizations) are clearly driving the technology development priorities of many of these (exchanges). Offering data-analytics capabilities to support population health and quality management functions is a strategic priority for most. Extracting new value from the patient information available via the (exchange) is considered key to keeping existing participants engaged, attracting payers, and creating new revenue streams."

The work on the report was funded by a grant from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS. The Washington-based National eHealth Collaborative is a public-private partnership and was created as a private-sector successor to the American Health Information Community, a federal advisory panel on health information technology run by HHS in the George W. Bush administration.


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