Rowland has had some pioneering RHIOs as models in the vicinity: Cincinnati-based HealthBridge, whose turf now extends into far southeastern Indiana, and the Indianapolis-based Indiana Health Information Exchange, which grew out of the work by the Indiana University-based Regenstrief Institute. The three have teamed up to create a multi-RHIO health information network.
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At HealthLINC “We're moving lab data in a structured way,” Rowland says. “We don't have all the labs yet. Nobody ever does. Even HealthBridge that's been up for 13 years, they don't have all the labs onboard.
“We get all the radiology reports and the medical records from two hospitals,” Rowland says. HealthLINC also has developed interfaces with two vendors' EHRs to push Web-based clinical messages directly into physicians' EHRs.
As with most RHIOs, “Sustainability is a problem,” Rowland says. “As long as hospitals look as this as a cost beyond normal operating business costs, it will be a problem, and they will still continue to look at it that way. Our goal is by the end of 2011 to be financially sustainable,” Rowland says.
“I think what's changed for us is meaningful use and all the grant funding,” he says, referring to requirement in the 2009 stimulus law that in order to receive a slice of the billions in federal subsidies available for the purchase of an EHR, providers must demonstrate they can meaningfully use the systems, including exchanging information to improve patient care.