As 56 state-run and federally authorized entities develop their regional health information exchanges, state-level officials are responsible for ensuring that the clinical information contained within eventually meets the info-sharing requirements of the National Health Information Network.
That's a primary conclusion of the fourth Profiles of Progress report (PDF) from the National Association of State Chief Information Officers, released this week. The association, whose membership comprises state chief information officers, notes that sharing information among clinicians—and doing so using a standardized federal database—is the “primary purpose” of the state and regional health information exchanges.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology doled out $550 million in grants to the 56 public and private organizations to develop their own regional systems through which to share clinical information among providers while maintaining patient privacy and data security.
However, much of the public discussion on networks' interoperability has focused on the challenges of data-sharing among providers, who can use different health IT systems in their hospitals and clinics but must use the centralized exchange to qualify for federal grants to help pay for the system.
According to the report, state CIOs play a critical role in ensuring that the various networks also adhere to the requirements of the National Information Exchange Model, which was developed over the past decade in response to the need to share homeland security data quickly and securely. In coming weeks, the ONC is expected to announce 11 recipients of contracts to develop a specific health information exchange framework based on the homeland security model, the report adds.