HIE, REC Funding Drying Up Despite Need

Anthony Brino | Healthcare IT News | May 13, 2014

Despite many physicians and hospitals now meaningfully using electronic health records, there's still a huge gap when it comes to these providers actually exchanging patient data. That reality has some regional extension centers taking up the work of health information exchange. The funding, however, is often hard to come by. Consider New Hampshire, for instance, where the nonprofit beyond the REC is operating the HIE, and trying to meet the information technology needs of the providers as they evolve.

"All of us always knew the money would end. We'll definitely see some REC programs go away," said Jeff Loughlin, executive director of the New Hampshire REC and the NH Health Information Organization. But in New Hampshire, though the funding is gone, "the need is still there, and in some cases the need is here more than it ever was before."

When the REC started out, many of New Hampshire's largest providers were already well-wired with high levels of EHRs and e-prescribing, but smaller practices needed help with adoption and complying with meaningful use — and many are now looking for help on the technology side of quality improvement projects and alternative payment models, Loughlin added...