IXchange Blog

February 17, 2021

Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) — Running on Empty

For many HIEs, it may feel like they are fighting an uphill battle against time, private sector competition or competing priorities. What is an HIE to do?

Today’s Blog is from Todd Rogow, President and CEO of Healthix

 The continuous work of combating the COVID-19 pandemic plus heightened need for visibility into the state of healthcare across our communities would be a lot to handle on their own. Add in the call for all clinical data aggregators to provide helpful insights and new directions around efficiency, equity and healthcare outcomes and the result is that many Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) are feeling energized but overwhelmed.

In times of dramatic change and customer needs, implementing a strategy based upon your organization’s strengths can help lead the way forward. First, focus on your core mission. For Healthix, this is mobilizing health information across our communities to advance patient care.

  • One foundational pillar would be to establish deeper relationships and services to support Public Health activities at all levels: Federal, State, City and County. Establishing services and supplying clinical data helps provide windows into better understanding the situation at hand and brings into focus the problems to overcome.
  • The second pillar is to align closely with your customer base (Provider & Health Plan Organizations) on dealing with the challenges they face by supplementing their traditional value generating services.

Once you have a good understanding of your public and private customer needs, it is time to explore ways to serve these needs. HIEs should look towards strengthening current partnerships with existing vendors. Work with your partners to identify and understand services that can be provided to meet traditional and new challenges. Think creatively. Help address specific patient care areas. Remember that there are real people connected to the data and that the ultimate goal of our work is to improve lives. It is important to make your objectives as quantifiable as possible, to show the impact on society and support the value an HIE brings to the table.

HIEs should also consider creating new alliances that focus on furthering your mission. The business niche for HIEs is in serving communities with effective collection from diverse data sources. For many HIEs, this means providing services that reach beyond traditional boundaries. This has driven HIEs to merge across state lines or be acquired by organizations that have a larger regional view, helping to further reduce barriers by following the patients and their care.

The ongoing pandemic has highlighted the vital role that HIEs often serve. The important thing is for your organization to ground itself in its mission, extend your partnerships and create new alliances. It is time for HIEs to help welcome in an era that supports a more robust clinical exchange built upon the framework that has been laid across the U.S. Think big and help play your part in making information exchange part of the foundation that supports Public Health and contributes to patient care transformation.