New Framework Fosters Self-Sustaining EHR Exchange Networks

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imageA framework to assist states and Washington, D.C., in creating self-sustaining, effective networks for the exchange of EHRs has been announced by the Center for Health Information and Decision Systems (CHIDS) at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Co-authored by P. Kenyon Crowley, associate director of CHIDS; Ritu Agarwal, professor and dean’s chair of information systems and director of CHIDS; and Sunil Mithas, associate professsior at the university, the CHIDS HIE Evaluation Framework is intended to offer a methodology for assessing any Regional Health Information Organization (RHIO) across the nation. Health information exchanges (HIEs) are evaluated against five key performance criteria: the value creation and sustainability of the business model; organizational structure and decision-making processes; technology; community engagement; and trust in the system.

"Much of the country has a long way to go to getting electronic health records implemented and able to share health information seamlessly," Crowley asserts. "This work is vital – the development of effective and sustainable HIEs enables better quality of care. With shared patient health information, clinicians can better manage and coordinate care, which improves patient safety, reduces redundancy and spurs quality and efficiency."

"HIEs are complex organizational forms that engage many stakeholders, sometimes with conflicting goals,” Agarwal observes. “The framework is designed such that it can address the multiple dimensions along which an HIE needs to exhibit superior performance. As more HIEs become operational, the tool can be used to compare and benchmark performance."