Representatives from about 20 health information exchanges across the U.S. have announced formation of a national consortium of exchanges.
The Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative will serve as a trade organization for the HIEs, which allow hospitals to share patient records. The new group will facilitate best-practices discussions between member HIEs, advocate to lawmakers and promote public education about the networks, organizers said.
Dick Thompson, executive director of Quality Health Network in Colorado, one of the nation's first HIEs, will chair the organization. Members hope collaboration within the group will help them achieve economies of scale, innovate their business models and provide opportunities for joint ventures, Thompson said in a news release.
An executive director will be appointed by the end of January, Thompson said. Though similar consortiums exist, Thompson said SHIEC will be a one-stop shop for organizations looking to work with HIEs.
“One of the things that we need to be able to do is create joint ventures so that multiple HIEs can come together to do business with national and regional organizations,” he said.
Members decided to form the group after meeting informally at annual conferences and monthly conference calls, according to the release, which did not list the HIEs in the consortium. Thompson said members are still being finalized.
The consortium is one of several formed as a part of a long-term plan to link regional HIEs into a coast-to-coast network, known as the Nationwide Health Information Network, or NwHIN, which was envisioned in 2004 by Dr. David Brailer, the first head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS.
One of the most notable groups is the EHR|IHE Interoperability Workgroup, a 19-state coalition formed in February 2011 that is led by the New York eHealth Collaborative.
Earlier this year, 16 Midwest HIEs formed the Mid-States Consortium of Health Information Organizations, which several expected-SHIEC members belong to, Thompson said.
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