RHIOs a holistic view is needed for success
RHIOs across the country have approached things very differentlly with their own standards, measures, goals and stakeholders. RHIOs can make for an interesting case study as there is a lot of good insights, perspectives and information that can be gained by their efforts. The reality, however, is that many RHIOs continue to struggle. They are knee deep in the politics of it all, have inadequate funding, and competing agenda’s from everyone involved.
What we need to do is to take a holistic view of the work RHIOs have done. We can capture best practices, constructive approaches and opportunities that can be universally shared. This due diligence could lead to us instituting a true national healthcare interoperability definition & standard for all RHIOs to adhere to. This would be the foundation of a simplified national health network exchange that all organizations and system vendors could embrace. From a technology perspective this would be very similar to the traditional EDI and ODBC models. All vendors know, understand, and enable these standards in their products.
I hate to say it but for RHIOs to be ultimately successful, they will need to collaborate & work together, and they are going to need a similar “carrot & stick” of the HITECH initiative. Obviously the incentives and penalties would be different but the same motivation and persuasion tactics would be achieved. The reality is HITECH is already going to surface these issues in a big way. True interoperability will only be achieved through system standards. I am not critical of RHIOs, you can certainly understand how they got to where they are. A tremendous amount of thought and good work has been done. Some RHIOs are much more successful than others. However, a true national standard and health network exchange is going to be required before the goal can be ulitmately be achieved.