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Health Information Exchange Consensus Conference Reinforces Key Role of State-Level Entities

CHICAGO, Nov. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Health information exchange (HIE) organizations with public-private governance and a state-wide mission are an important and logical organizational unit for advancing HIE efforts, according to the interim findings ( k_F inal.pdf) of an ongoing study carried out by the Foundation of Research and Education (FORE) of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), under contract to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in the Department of Health and Human Services.

The interim findings, "Building Sustainable Health Information Exchange: Roles for State-Level Public-Private Partnerships," was the focus of discussion at a consensus conference on Nov. 5-6 in Washington, D.C. -- attended by 140 attendees representing 18 states, federal agencies, providers, payers and health information technology vendors. New research identifies three key roles for state level entities: convener, collaborator and operator -- and defines each. The conference consisted of panels operational state level entities, updates from the national level, and breakout sessions at which participants contributed directly to the dialogue around the study areas of state-level HIE governance, services and sustainability, and their role in supporting development of nationwide HIE capabilities.

"State-wide governance for health information exchange, grounded in public-private partnership, can help assure coherence between state health policy aims, consumer protections, and local HIE capacity building efforts while providing a critical link to national level initiatives," observed Lynn Dierker, RN, Project Director.

The conference and preliminary report are part of a FORE project that began in 2006 under an HHS contract. The project's larger aim is to guide the ongoing development of state-level health information exchange efforts, and their roles in support of the developing nationwide network.

Ray Campbell, Esq., MPH, chair of the Project Steering Committee and Executive Director and CEO, Massachusetts Health Data Consortium noted, "As the Steering Committee has deliberated it has become clear that, while there are necessary variations among state approaches, we are seeing the emergence of common roles and functions that the state-level entity can and must play."

Project resources, including the recently released preliminary report ( _fi nal.pdf), "State Level Health Information Exchange: Roles in Ensuring Governance and Advancing Interoperability," are available on the project Web site at This report outlines a potential framework for organizing HIE functions and formalizing organizational and sector roles and responsibilities necessary to support the exchange of health information within and across states. Feedback on the preliminary report is welcome and can be provided via the Web site. Also available on the site is an updated version of the "State Level Health Information Exchange Development Workbook: A Guide to Key Issues."

The final report is due in March 2008.

About FOREFORE is the research and charitable affiliate of AHIMA which provides financial and intellectual resources to sustain and recognize continuous innovation and advances in HIM for the betterment of the profession, healthcare, and the public. For more information about FORE, visit


The American Health Information Management Association is the leading professional Association representing more than 51,000 specially educated and certified health information management professionals working throughout the healthcare industry. HIM professionals serve healthcare and the public by managing, analyzing, and utilizing data vital for health system management.

SOURCE American Health Information Management Association
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