N.Y. RHIOs could gain state accreditation

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The state of New York is considering evaluating and accrediting its regional health information organizations (RHIOs).

According to Government Health IT, the project is linked to a five-year, $200 million effort to develop an interoperable health information infrastructure, including the implementation of EHRs and the Statewide Health Information Network for New York (SHIN-NY).

The state’s health information infrastructure consists of technical, clinical and organizational components. SHIN-NY serves as the bedrock for the technical infrastructure, while RHIOs play a governance role as the organizational element, said Lori Evans, deputy commissioner of the state’s health department, which includes the Office of Health Information Technology Transformation.

State officials are exploring accreditation as a way to assure stakeholders that RHIOs can handle governance responsibilities.

“Governance and trust are just as important to achieving interoperability as the technology,” Evans said. “The organizational infrastructure is so important. RHIOs are a critical organizational component of making SHIN-NY successful.”

The initiative will rely on RHIOs’ ability to govern health information exchanges (HIEs) in areas such as privacy and security, according to Evans. The state will also count on RHIOs to ensure that providers of health information comply with the state’s developing Common Health Information Exchange Protocol, which is considered to be the linchpin of SHIN-NY.