ONC-Funded Report Finds Providers’ HIE Needs Have Evolved

June 22, 2015 in News

Health care providers’ use of health information exchanges has changed in recent years, according to a new report presented to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, FierceEMR reports (Durben Hirsch, FierceEMR, 6/19).


The State HIE program is funded under the HITECH Act as part of the 2009 federal economic stimulus package. The program provided $564 million to help states achieve secure electronic exchange of information (NORC report, June 2015).

Details of the Report

The report, from the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, looked at providers’ experiences with HIEs between March 2014 and May 2014 in six states:

  • Iowa;
  • Mississippi;
  • New Hampshire;
  • Utah;
  • Vermont; and
  • Wyoming.

Report Findings

The researchers found providers’ HIE needs have advanced beyond connecting disparate electronic health record systems and meeting meaningful use requirements (FierceEMR, 6/19).

Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHRs can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

Instead, providers expressed a need to more easily access “actionable” data at the point of care to boost care and care coordination (Pittman et al., “Morning eHealth,” Politico, 6/22). Examples of provider priorities for HIEs include information on:

  • Patient admissions and discharges;
  • Transfer alerts;
  • Interstate exchange; and
  • Services that help care coordination (NORC report, June 2015).

In addition, the researchers wrote, “There is a need to push for interoperability at the vendor level so that health system goals for improved patient care supported by HIE are achievable” (“Morning eHealth,” Politico, 6/22).

The report also highlighted difficulties providers have experienced with HIEs, such as:

  • A need for more sophisticated infrastructure and services;
  • Competing priorities;
  • Interoperability issues;
  • Lack of staff with sufficient technological knowledge;
  • Lack of standardization among vendors; and
  • Participation costs (FierceEMR, 6/19).
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