Representatives from approximately 20 health information exchanges (HIEs) nationally have come together to form a national consortium called the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC). SHIEC aims to assist and advance member HIEs through the exchange of ideas and business improvements as well as through public education and advocacy. The group has developed a formal organization with by-laws and an elected board of directors. An executive director will be named in early 2015.
The chair of this newly formed group, Dick Thompson who is executive director of one of the nation’s first HIEs, Quality Health Network in Colorado, says that the formation of a national HIE consortium is evidence of the growth and maturity of HIEs nationally.
“We believe that 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,” Thompson said. “In addition, we would like a trade organization that speaks for HIEs exclusively and is focused solely on helping HIEs fulfill their community mission.”
The organization of SHIEC is the product of eight years of collaboration among a number of long-standing and successful HIE organizations located throughout the country. The HIEs of SHIEC have been meeting informally for years via annual conferences and monthly conference calls to exchange ideas and discuss value-added offerings HIEs could bring their participants.
“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,” Thompson said. “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.”
The consortium will include the following organizations that are on the board of the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC):
– Quality Health Network
– Utah Health Information Network
– Arizona Health-e Connection
– NYU Langone Medical Center
– Nebraska Health Information Initiative
A group of about 20 organizations have been meeting and in touch for about two years, however the member composition of the consortium will not be announced until organizations come on board as dues paying members. A website is in development and an executive director is being recruited. Both will be announced in another release in January 2015.