HIELights: Part XVII— Who’s the Beneficiary?

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

In this series of monthly articles – based in part on their award winning book – the authors discuss current HIE-related events and leading practices within the context of forming an HIE organization in your state, region or community.  This is Part 17 of the series. You can access previous HIE Formation installments at HIELights’
archives. Click the link above to read the current installment.


For the last 16 months we’ve had the pleasure of sharing our experience, insights, and opinions with thousands of fellow HIMSS members and HIELights subscribers.  Our monthly columns have been based on current events related to health information exchange as well as the content of our recently published book on the subject. It’s been an exciting time. There has been lots happening, and lots to write about. We’ve truly enjoyed writing the columns each month. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed reading them.


We’ve covered the subject of health information exchange—including forming a health information exchange organization – from a number of differing perspectives. We’ve looked at it from the view of the person or group who had the idea to form an organization, the members of the initial steering committee, the chairs of the various workgroups, the formally established governing board members, the stakeholders the HIE will serve, the marketing team and the technical team.  In the process, we hope we’ve provided some information that you personally found helpful.


What’s left?


We wanted to spend a bit of time discussing the ultimate beneficiary of health information exchange. It’s not the community, it’s not the HIE organization, it not the hospitals or the providers who participate. They do receive benefits of course.  We are the primary beneficiary. Not just Laura and Bob. All of us. You and yours.  Your spouse, partner, parents, siblings, kids, friends, associates and all the other in-laws and out-laws in your life. Real people. Us.


Without the efficient flow of personal health information it’s impossible to improve the quality of the healthcare being delivered, improve the overall population health, and reduce the cost of providing both sick- and well-care  In consulting parlance, that flow of information is an essential enabler.  Not the only enabler, but it is essential.  It’s a must have.


Whatever your rank or position in the healthcare ecosystem, whatever your role in helping to capture, manage, and electronically exchange personal health information, we hope you’ll remember who all this activity is designed to benefit.  It’s us.  All of us.


Every day we get closer to getting health information exchange right.  You’re efforts are helping.  Keep up the good work.  We’re glad you’re here.  All of us are.



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 in February 2011, and was recently named the HIMSS Book of the Year.  View the HIMSS’ companion web site to read chapter summaries and download select tables, figures, illustrations and checklists.