News Feature | January 5, 2015

HIEs Launch New Consortium For Health Exchanges

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

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New trade association will give HIE a unified voice.

A group of roughly 20 health information exchanges have joined together to create a new trade association, called the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative, or SHIEC, according to HIT Consultant. The goal of the consortium is to "assist and advance member HIEs through the exchange of ideas and business improvements as well as through public education and advocacy."

The new group is chaired by Dick Thompson, executive director of Quality Health Network in Colorado. By-laws and an elected board of directors are already in place, and an executive director will be named after the first of the year. The HIEs have been meeting informally for years via annual conferences and monthly conference calls to discuss value-added offerings HIEs could bring their participants.

Thompson said, according to Becker's Hospital Review, "We believe there are valuable services that a national consortium can provide to member HIEs such as achieving economies of scale, promoting business models for the sustainability of HIEs, educating and increasing awareness of HIEs among public and private entities, providing opportunities for the establishment of joint ventures and collaborating to inform legislators and policy makers of the benefits to the communities served by our members.

"In addition, Thompson added, "we would like a trade organization that speaks for HIEs exclusively and is focused solely on helping HIEs fulfill their community mission. We have learned to value each other's input and guidance as we have navigated the challenges of sustainability, health care reform and Meaningful Use requirements. This history of successful collaboration laid the foundation for a formal national organization. We hope to include many other HIEs who share the idea that by working more closely together we can achieve more."

Board members have been meeting informally at conferences and through monthly conference calls for several years and now seek to formalize collaboration and invite other HIEs.

Board members represent Quality Health Network, HealtheLINK, Healthbridge, Utah Health Information Network, Arizona Health-e Connection, NYU Langone Medical Center and Nebraska Health Information Initiative, according to Healthcare IT News.