MetroChicago Health Information Exchange



MetroChicago Health Information Exchange (MCHC) is a membership and service association comprising more than 150 hospitals and health care organizations working together, since 1935, to improve the delivery of health care services in the Chicago area.

Charles Cox, Director, Health Information Technology for HIE Non-Profit Partner MetroChicago HIE, shares his thoughts on their unique HIE governance structure and offers advice on how to create a solid foundation for a community-based HIE.

I became involved with HIMSS after my team and I attended the HIMSS Health IT Conference in 2010. We were incredibly impressed by the depth and breadth of knowledge of the presenters and attendees alike. Because it serves as such a great resource and forum, I have made it a priority to continue attending HIMSS meetings and conferences.

I find many aspects of HIMSS to be rewarding. Through HIMSS, I’ve been empowered to network with colleagues from across the country, meet innovative vendors of emerging and established technology, attend numerous educational sessions and take part in the HIMSS Interoperability Showcase™. Each of these aspects has enriched my ability to practice within the industry and to constantly improve the MetroChicago Health Information Exchange (HIE) to the benefit of the patients and communities our members serve.

MetroChicago HIE has achieved a number of remarkable milestones in its relatively short history. Among them are as follows:

  • Building the group of 33 hospitals who came together as our Initial Launch Group in late 2013
  • Seeing that Initial Launch Group achieve their Go-Live events in summer of 2014
  • Surpassing one million patient records in only six months from launch
  • And taking steps in 2015 to include Medicaid managed care entities and commercial payers in the MetroChicago HIE 

The most notable and largest drivers of change have been in the tools used for health IT and health information exchange. These include the large-scale adoption of electronic medical records, increased use of analytics, and the evolution of payment models from fee-for-service to value-based payment.

I’ve learned that no HIE should underestimate the competition for project resources that exists within a health care organization who is adopting an HIE. In today’s unprecedented health care climate, funds and manpower are often scarce within these organizations, and a number of departments may be vying for them. Adopting HIE technology isn’t a two week install, and even after implementation, it requires sustained focus from the participant. The MetroChicago HIE has been able to overcome this obstacle by continuing to provide extensive support for the organizations adopting the HIE.

MetroChicago HIE has implemented a number of initiatives to ensure continued engagement and satisfaction on the part of our health care organizations. The bedrock for our participants is our unique HIE governance structure. This allows health care organizations to play an active role, with their peers, in shaping the MetroChicago HIE and empowers participants to establish community decisions regarding the HIE.

MetroChicago HIE also has a structured project management approach that guides participants through their implementation projects and gives them an opportunity to work with our team one-on-one or in a group setting with their peers, according to their needs and preferences.   We have also instituted an HIE users group in order to provide a collaborative forum for participants who have completed the implementation to share best practices and collective experiences.

The foundation of a community-based HIE is trust. Our team works tirelessly to develop strong relationships and ensure continued trust within our community. We’ve found that, upon building and maintaining that trust, successes naturally follow.

Learn more about becoming a HIMSS HIE Organization Non-Profit Partner.