Survey: Health information exchanges evolving
The eHealth Initiative released the results of its 2006 Third Annual Survey of Health Information Exchange at the state, regional, and community levels. The results show a continuing maturity of the exchanges on every level. Among the 165 HIE initiatives identified by the 2006 survey, 45 are in the implementation stage and 26 have identified themselves as fully operational. According to the survey, engagement of hospitals, health plans, employers, and primary care physicians in the exchanges is up considerably from 2005 levels with 96 percent, 69 percent, 54 percent, and 91 percent of respondents, respectively, now actively engaging such stakeholders in their efforts. At least 20 percent of respondents are now transmitting various types of data electronically, including claims, dictation, emergency department episodes, enrollment/eligibility, inpatient and outpatient episodes, laboratory results, and radiology results. As for funding, 24 percent of respondents are receiving funds from hospitals, while 21 percent are receiving funds from payers. Physician practices (16 percent) and laboratories (13 percent) are also serving as a growing funding source. eHealth attributes these advancements to a confluence of efforts surrounding health IT and information exchange, and also requirements for and the alignment of incentives with quality improvement, creating a near-term opportunity for transformation in the U.S. healthcare system.