HIE Formation Part I: The Objective

By Laura Kolkman, RN, MS, FHIMSS, and Bob Brown

As we're all aware, ubiquitous health information exchange is not an end objective. The end objective is to improve patient care quality, improve effectiveness and efficiency of healthcare delivery while simultaneously reducing the costs we as a society pay to receive those services. While key to those who are directly involved in HIE initiatives, this is also an essential component of our national healthcare agenda.

That larger objective in no way diminishes the importance of HIE initiatives or the work we’re all doing on a daily basis. The electronic exchange of health information, in a cost effective, safe and secure manner, is an essential enabler that must be in place to reach that larger objective.

Building on the progress made to date, people from all walks of life are coming together at the state, regional and community levels, to talk about the best ways to make electronic health information readily available in their area. Others, especially our colleagues in the standards and vendor communities, are tackling other required basics: the interoperability of HIT systems; developing new user interfaces that don’t reduce trained clinicians to tears; and clearing the log jam of conflicting laws and regulations that were written decades ago in the days of paper and ink medical records that are now hindering progress.

In this series of monthly articles, based in part on our recently published book, we’ll discuss current HIE related events and leading practices within the context of forming an HIE initiative in your state, region or community.

Laura Kolkman, RN, MS, FHIMSS is the president of Mosaica Partners and Bob Brown is the VP of Professional Services. Their book, The Health Information Exchange Formation Guide, was published by HIMSS last month. HIMSS companion website, where you can read chapter summaries and download select tables, figures, illustrations and checklists, is available at: www.himss.org/hieformationguide. For more details on the book, see the article in this month’s HIELights.