AHIMA Report: HIEs and RHIOs need more accreditation standards

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The healthcare industry needs standards for accrediting the governance structure and technical operations of regional health information organizations (RHIOs) and health information exchanges (HIEs), according to a preliminary American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) report.

The Foundation of Research and Education arm of the AHIMA has been studying state-level HIEs to develop and publish best practices.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in the Department of Health and Human Services is funding the work.

The report outlines a potential framework for organizing HIE functions and formalizing roles and responsibilities. “With distinct statewide cultures as a backdrop, state-level HIEs find themselves called to address an array of technical, policy and financial issues within the context of a state’s healthcare environment,” according to the report. “State-based HIE efforts must address the legal, regulatory, and fiscal policies that drive accountabilities and structure incentives for insurers, providers and agencies that serve the state’s population.”

Recommendations in the preliminary report, “State Level Health Information Exchange: Roles in Ensuring Governance and Advancing Interoperability,” include:

  • Each state should support a single, state-level public-private entity that takes on a distinct state-level HIE governance role.
  • The governance role must include consensus-based implementation of HIE policies and practices.
  • States should designate a formal point of leadership and coordination within state government to facilitate HIE participation, investments and strategies across government agencies.
  • States should work with state-level HIEs to develop mechanisms that advance interoperability through increased adoption of certified technology.

The preliminary report is available at staterhio.org.