Arizona Health-e Connection and Health Information Network of Arizona announced their formal affiliation Wednesday.
The two statewide health information technology
organizations will operate together but will remain as separate legal entities. The affiliation was approved by their respective boards in November 2013 and finalized last week.
“It's an affiliation and not a merger,” said Ashley Siegel, spokeswoman for Arizona Health-e Connection.
However, Tucson-based Health Information Network of Arizona will gradually move most of its operations to Arizona Health-e Connection's Phoenix headquarters. Plans include hiring additional employees, bringing the staff up to about 20 during the first half of the year, Siegel said.
Arizona Health-e Connection will handle policy development, education, stakeholder engagement and various health IT and health information exchange
programs. Health Information Network of Arizona will serve as the network to electronically connect healthcare providers through the statewide health information exchange.
“The formal affiliation will combine the strengths of both organizations and streamline communications, membership and participation to continue the accelerated adoption of HIT and HIE in Arizona,” William Vanaskie, Health Information Network of Arizona's board chair, said in a news release (PDF)
Arizona Health-e Connection was incorporated in 2007 to lead state health IT efforts. In 2010, it received a $10.8 million grant—later increased to $11.5 million—from the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology
. That same year, Health Information Network of Arizona was formed after two regional health information organizations combined to exchange information across the state.Follow Rachel Landen on Twitter: @MHrlanden