The state of Wisconsin is gearing up to kick off a statewide HIE network that would embrace hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and other care facilities, according to a piece appearing in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The network, known as the Wisconsin Statewide Health Information Network (WISHIN), is a private nonprofit organization. It expects to add several hospitals to its network this year, and most of the state’s major health systems have committed to participating over time. The health systems and other providers who participate in WISHIN will pay an annual subscription fee based on their size.
WISHIN expects to make a wide variety of information available securely to providers, including problem lists, prescriptions, radiology reports, physician notes and test results, the newspaper notes.
WISHIN will replace the Milwaukee area’s Wisconsin Health Information Exchange, a network which was formed in 2008 and included 13 hospitals in the area. The WHIE was shut down after the region’s health systems decided that being part of a statewide network would be more efficient than relying on a local organization.
WISHIN was created in December 2010, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Initial planning for the network was done by a body overseen by the state’s Department of Health.
Since then, WISHIN brought in Medicity Inc. to handle the design of the network. Medicity, which is owned by Aetna, is building HIEs in several states.
In kicking off its network, WISHIN is joining a rapidly-growing community of hospitals who have embraced HIEs. In fact, a recent study appearing in the journal Health Affairs concluded that health data exchanges between hospitals and other healthcare providers have climbed 41 percent between 2008 and 2012.
And WISHIN is one of a growing number of statewide efforts. For example, New Jersey’s State Department of Health just awarded $1.57 million to a coalition of HIE group to help them kick off a statewide HIE there.
What’s not clear, from the description of either HIE, is how they’re going to sustain their efforts over the medium and long term; subscription-model based HIEs have failed in the past and, unless something new is afoot, are likely to fail again. Let’s see if the ROI is enough to satisfy hospitals and providers this time around.