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An HIE Guide to Survival

October 21, 2015

Cloud Computing

HIEs provide a valuable service to the healthcare industry – aggregating patient information across healthcare systems to enhance care coordination and drive improved outcomes, including better clinical results, lower costs, and greater patient satisfaction with the system. However, while many Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) have exceeded expectations since the passage of health reform in 2010, many have also faltered due to the sheer magnitude of that task and the amount of funding required to accomplish goals. Even for those that have flourished, there remains an undeniable need for HIEs to enhance sustainability as public funding dwindles while the amount of patient data continues to grow in size and complexity.

Emerging sustainability strategies that generate revenue and reinforce HIE value beyond their initial goal of patient care are now being fostered and tested and largely include service extensions, such as messaging and reporting. Other more sophisticated offerings include the mining and sharing of the precious data that holds so much promise for understanding medicine. But another sustainability model involves leveraging the HIE not only for data but to link the data to associated hospital-based specimens – positioning the HIE as an integral player in the identification and procurement of human specimens for biomedical research. Money from innovative service extensions could finance operational costs of the HIE and pave the path to self-sufficiency.

Learn More About the iSpecimen Marketplace

Today, iSpecimen announced our collaboration with DHIN, the nation’s first operational statewide information exchange and a pioneer in the HIE industry. Bringing our technology to DHIN represents our first foray outside of a hospital, lab, or biobank, and represents that there truly are ever-evolving opportunities to be found in today’s dynamic healthcare landscape.

By leveraging an HIE as data aggregator, hospitals and labs that are members of the HIE can contribute their remnant laboratory specimens to research while associated data is provided by the HIE. This allows hospitals and labs to quickly and easily become part of the iSpecimen network and contribute meaningfully to research without having to integrate their laboratory and other electronic medical record systems with iSpecimen’s technology. This not only enhances the value of the HIE itself as a critical part of the equation, but also creates revenue for hospitals that would have otherwise thrown out the leftover specimens, as most hospitals and labs do once clinical testing is compete.

HIE sustainability is not easy but if leaders are open-minded and willing to go beyond intended use, HIEs have the potential to become self-sufficient entities and innovators in their own right.

For more information on HIE sustainability, please view the following resources:

Infographic: Health Information Exchange: Has it Held Up to its Expectations?
Finding HIE sustainability without federal funds

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