News | April 6, 2011

eHI Launches New Online Toolkit For Health Information Exchange

The eHealth Initiative recently launched the third generation of its Health Information Exchange (HIE) Toolkit, an online resource to empower health care leaders managing the challenges associated with developing, adopting, operating, and sustaining a health information exchange.

Phase I of the new eHI Toolkit is now online and available to the public. This "primer" addresses all of the steps for getting an HIE started – including creating a governance model, drafting legal and information sharing agreements, protecting patient privacy and more. Links to sample roadmaps, readiness tools, agreements, are provided. Phase II, which will be published in May, will address creating a sustainable model, technical aspects of connectivity, marketing and promoting adoption of HIEs, enhancing services, and tracking progress. Later in the year, the value of analytics and anticipated new developments in the marketplace – including HIE as part of ACO strategies - will be added.

"The HIE landscape has been radically transformed by the provisions of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which is accelerating the demand for and development of HIEs," said Jennifer Covich Bordenick, Chief Executive Officer of eHI. "Stakeholders are seeking information on new and emerging requirements for HIEs, and want to access best practices for successful HIEs. We hope that the new Toolkit will become an essential and growing resource for HIE leaders."

Content for the Toolkit was developed through a collaborative process with the Connecting Communities Steering Committee, as well as interviews with leaders in the HIE field. Many of the recommended principles and strategies are derived from eHI's 2010 National Progress Report, which was created through a comprehensive review of progress and areas requiring action in health IT and HIE. Health information organizations across the country were consulted about the topics covered in this toolkit.

"This primer on Health Information Exchange provides an expert road map on how to build an HIE for new and young initiatives," noted Glenn Keet, President, Axolotl Corp., now part of Ingenix. "Experts and successful HIE leaders alike have collaborated to put together this guide so that new HIEs can hit the ground running, with samples and models of what has worked for some of the today's most successful operational Exchanges."

Since its inception in 2001, the eHealth Initiative has been a leading provider of resources to HIE initiatives around the country, and publishes the only comprehensive annual survey on the state of health information exchange. The survey was first distributed in 2004; last year a record 199 HIEs completed the survey.

The first HIE Toolkit, published in 2006, presented lessons learned from 12 HIEs. The second HIE Toolkit, published in 2008, incorporated best practices from 42 HIEs. The 2008 version was also built upon the vision of the eHealth Initiative Blueprint: From Consensus to Common Action, which provided principles, strategies and actions for improving health and health care through health IT and HIE.

The Toolkit is an evolving resource that will be modified by the continuing input of national, state and local leaders. Development of the HIE Toolkit was made possible through the generous support of Axolotl. Axolotl has been supporting HIE for over 16 years and serves 7 statewide and 22 Regional Health Information Organizations (RHIOs).

About the eHealth Initiative:
The eHealth Initiative (eHI) is a Washington D.C.-based, independent, non-profit organization whose mission is to drive improvements in the quality, safety, and efficiency of healthcare through information and information technology. Working with its 210 member organizations, eHI works to create a world where consumers, health care providers, and those responsible for population health will have ready access to timely, relevant, reliable and secure information and services through an interconnected, electronic health information infrastructure to support better health and healthcare. For more information, visit

About Axolotl Corp:
Founded in 1995, Axolotl Corp. is North America's leading provider of browser-based products and services for secure health information exchange and management. Axolotl helps thousands of health care entities—including hospitals, health systems, regional health information organizations (RHIOs/HIEs), ACOs, clinics, laboratories, radiology centers and physician practices—reduce health care costs, eliminate redundancy and improve quality and efficiency. Axolotl's SOA platform, community-wide Master Patient Index, EdgeServer(s), Interoperability Hub (I-HUB), Community Virtual Health Record (VHR), Analytics, and EMR solutions are all provided as software as a service (SaaS). Axolotl-employed U.S.-based transcriptionists, combined with an integrated NLP engine, provide high-quality medical transcription services for acute and ambulatory care environments connected to Elysium HIEs.

Axolotl is part of Ingenix, a leading health information technology and services company. Based in San Jose, Axolotl is known for introducing Clinical Messaging, now at the heart of all advanced health information exchange. For more information, visit

SOURCE: eHealth Initiative