Value propositions for community health information exchange include many voices but one vision

Oct 01, 2008

A successful health information exchange (HIE) must be constructed in a manner that accounts for and serves the needs of each stakeholder group individually and allows all, to share in the benefit. As a result, the success of a community-based HIE is as much a feat of cooperation as it is one of organization.

A successful health information exchange (HIE) must be constructed in a manner that accounts for and serves the needs of each stakeholder group individually and allows all, to share in the benefit. As a result, the success of a community-based HIE is as much a feat of cooperation as it is one of organization.

While few would argue with the necessity of a unified community commitment, the act of getting stakeholders to engage in discourse regarding the overarching and individual value propositions is the first accomplishment of the data sharing project. Doing so enables the community to strategically build its stakeholder links from a position of strength based on areas of consensus and eliminates the potential for the weakest link to fracture the chain and bring the entire HIE to a halt.

A typical community will include healthcare organizations of various forms, including physician practices, hospitals, health systems, and long-term and home care agencies, as well as individual providers, patients, pharmacies, payers and employers. Subsets of those stakeholder groups, such as laboratory service providers or pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs), may operate on a larger national or regional scale.

A successful HIE requires the internalization of a common purpose. The challenge, however, is to determine how to build breadth into that purpose without losing individual stakeholder value. The solution lies in the development of propositions that highlight mutual benefit, which will serve to capture the attention of stakeholders and lead to parameters for community involvement.

Community voices

The concept of a community-based HIE is actually that of an infrastructure constructed to support cultural values through a system that comprises a whole where each component interacts with or is related to at least one other component.

It is only through identification of values as they relate to that common objective that a community can define itself, as well as clarify the manner in which individual components, or stakeholders, relate to each other and to the common objective of the HIE. Through this process of self-definition comes the potential for the community and stakeholders to work together to overcome differences and progress toward a community-valued vision for the HIE. Without the critical first step of stakeholder identification and engagement, there is little chance of establishing a collective value proposition that is thrown with a wide enough net to include all parties, but also retains a pragmatic focus on the motivations of the individual participants.

A successful information exchange must be built in a manner that accounts for differences and commonalities, that serves the needs and objectives of each stakeholder group individually, and allows all to collectively share in the benefit. Doing so levels the playing field and allows the focus going forward to be centered squarely on implementing those HIE strategies that benefit the community first, yet still address individual stakeholder needs.

A community collaboration initiative also requires leadership that understands and can capitalize on the characteristics that are shared by the most successful HIEs, which include:

An HIE may also share common goals of improved patient safety and quality of care, enhanced revenue cycle performance, reduced costs and inefficiencies, and improved communications across the care continuum.

It is from these common goals that the ultimate value proposition will be derived.

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