NJ Groups Come Together For Statewide HIE

Posted on August 1, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare editor and analyst with 25 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or www.ziegerhealthcare.com.

A group of regional organizations have come together to create a statewide HIE in New Jersey. As with most other large HIE efforts, the project is backed by a grant, in this case from ONCHIT.

New Jersey’s State Department of Health has awarded $1.57 million to a coalition of HIE groups, including the Camden Health Information Exchange, Virtua and Jersey Health Connect.  The project is dedicated to turning the patchwork of existing organizations into a true statewide, interoperable network.

The new HIE, known as the New Jersey Health Information (NJHIN) will begin by connecting regional health information that currently exchange data between local health providers, reports Healthcare Technology Online. The first wave of connectivity, which will link together various regional health information organizations, will bring together about 2,000 providers.

The program selected regional NJHIN coalition members through a competitive Request for Applications process. Those chosen had to demonstrate commitment to the success of the state’s HIE efforts; technical capability to deliver the needed technology services; and demonstrated experience bringing together diverse stakeholders to accomplish a shared goal.

This announcement follows on the heels of the an announcement by an HIE in Colorado (CORHIO), which has managed to connect the half of the state’s hospitals to its network as well as about 1,800 office-based physicians, 100 long-term and post-acute facilities, 13 behavioral health centers and five national/regional labs.

In both of these cases, it’s easy to see a lot of hope for sustained interoperability. But I’ve been watching HIEs/HINs/RHIOs for several years, and I’ve yet to see a really sound business model emerge for running an HIE successfully over time.

Perhaps with large, visible efforts like these coming into the spotlight, someone will come up with a solution — other than relying on grants — to fund long-term HIE growth, but as of this moment I’m skeptical these efforts can sustain themselves. For the sake of our healthcare system, I hope I’m wrong this time.