The Number Of Health Information Exchange Efforts Is Declining, Leaving The Viability Of Broad Clinical Data Exchange Uncertain

Julia Adler-Milstein, Sunny C. Lin and Ashish K. Jha | Health Affairs | July 1, 2016

The diffusion of health information exchange (HIE), in which clinical data are electronically linked to patients in many different care settings, is a top priority for policy makers. To drive HIE, community and state efforts were federally funded to broadly engage providers in exchanging data in ways that improved patient care.

To assess the current landscape, we conducted a national survey of community and state HIE efforts soon after federal funding ended. We found 106 operational HIE efforts that, as a group, engaged more than one-third of all US providers in 2014. However, the number of operational HIE efforts is down from 119 in 2012, representing the first decline observed since the tracking of these efforts began in 2006. 

Only half of operational efforts reported being financially viable, and all efforts reported a variety of barriers to continuation. These findings raise important questions about whether the current vision for HIE efforts will allow for the broad exchange of clinical data, or whether alternative approaches would be more successful...