By Gary Palgon, VP Healthcare Solutions, Liaison Healthcare Informatics
We all know the old adage, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” and in many instances it means that when times are difficult, people rise up to the challenge. But taken another way, it also means that if people aren’t as tough as they appear to be, they run from the situation as in “When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping!” So what’s the case for health information exchanges (HIEs)?
Building and enabling a HIE is tough and the question remains, “Are the people behind HIEs and those that are supposed to participate going to meet the challenge or end up running from it?” We know the majority of public HIEs and RHIOs are struggling with sustainability and it appears that the trendy answer is to bail on the meaningful aspects of it in favor of simply using the Direct Project for physician to physician communication. Washington DC and Tennessee HIE are good examples of this – both disbanding and recommending healthcare organizations simply use the Direct Project.
- D.C. Opts for Email Data Exchange
- Tennessee HIE organization disbands; state opts for Direct Project
For others, Direct appears to be a stepping stone with nearly 30 states using the clinical messaging protocol and others in process. For instance, Pennsylvania is making a push for their physicians with no money to seek grant money to adopt the Direct Messaging this year. While it’s essentially free to use and successfully allows online information to be exchanged among the providers, it lacks what will be needed long-term to make any real progress. It is essentially the same protocol as the Applicability Statements standards that have been used in other industries for more than a decade, though healthcare requires workflow and rules, something AS1, AS2 and AS3 still don’t support.
So while Direct appears to be a good, low-cost first step, we need everyone to get tough, and get going!
Where do you fit in?
Until next time,