The Minnesota Health Information Exchange, headquartered in Minneapolis, has merged into the Community Health Information Collaborative, based in Duluth, Minn., the organizations announced this week.
Minn. health info groups merge
The impetus for the consolidation came from an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 program to fund the establishment of statewide health information exchange organizations in every state. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology runs the program.
Instead of splitting the money between the two organizations, CHIC President and CEO Cheryl Stephens said, representatives from the Minneapolis exchange "came to us and said, 'You've been doing this a long time; what do you think about joining our forces together?' "
Providers in Duluth began organizing an exchange in 1997, which led to the formation of the CHIC as a not-for-profit corporation in 1999, Stephens said. The MHIE was formed by a collaboration of payers and providers and the Minnesota Department of Human Services in 2008, Stephens said.
Even combined, the two organizations still have lots of room for growth. HIE-Bridge, the name given to the exchange created by the collaborative, currently serves 10 hospitals, 50 clinics, two long-term-care facilities and three federally qualified healthcare clinics, according to a news release from the Community Health Information Collaborative. There are 142 hospitals in the state, Stephens said, "so we have a ways to go."
HIT-Bridge, following the consolidation, provides exchange services for clinical summaries, exchange of referrals using government-developed guidelines, and access to immunization information as well as patients' prescription medication histories.
The exchange also operates a centralized record-locator service.
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