Let me admit something: I’m a nerd. I’m also pretty proud of that fact. In case you haven’t noticed, nerds tend to rule the world and make a lot of money in the process. Sure, Albert Pujols and Peyton Manning make a pretty good living using they physical abilities but they’re also pretty sharp individuals that study hard while working out hard. So, when I view a presentation like the one below and realize that the right people are in the room (and are all pretty nerdy themselves), I simply can’t understand why all of this is so difficult.
Regional Health Information Exchanges (HIEs–also known as Regional Health Information Organizations) are attempting to start-up all around the country and they certainly need to. Well-functioning HIEs are a vital part of sharing our healthcare information between parties that need rapid access to it to drive down costs in a meaningful way. Too many organizations, however, are simply dragging their heels when it comes to letting their data (shouldn’t they really should view it as YOUR data?) outside of their own four walls–and this is a shame.
I would love to say that there is an answer to this question that doesn’t involve some form of government regulation/incentive/strong-arming, but I’m not sure if there is. The complaints about missing standards can be overcome and the free market should be able to derive enough value from the HIE to justify private funding, so why is this so hard? Maybe getting the right nerds in the room isn’t enough, but it really should be.
UPDATE: This is a very timely and interesting article on letting the data flow.
UPDATE 2: If you’re looking for some basic information, here is a great HIE guide.
UPDATE 3: This is a great article on SureScripts as a defacto NHIN.
UPDATE 4: Health Information Exchange Sustainability.