SOURCE: eHealth Initiative

May 23, 2005 18:05 ET

eHI Foundation Launches Major Survey of State, Regional and Community Health Information Exchange Initiatives

WASHINGTON, DC -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 23, 2005 -- With hundreds of local, state and national leaders gathering in Washington, DC this week at its Second Annual Connecting Communities for Better Health(SM) Learning Forum, the eHealth Initiative Foundation (eHI) launched its second annual survey of state, regional and community-based health information exchange initiatives and organizations. Initial findings of the survey will be announced during the Forum's second day with final results to be released in June. Health information exchange collaborators nationwide are encouraged to respond to the survey which can be found at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=308461041929.

The Connecting Communities for Better Health Program is a nationwide public-private collaborative that accelerates and supports multi-stakeholder efforts at the state, regional and community levels to enable interoperability and the mobilization of healthcare data across organizations to support patient care ("health information exchange"). This Program is conducted by the eHealth Initiative Foundation in cooperation with the Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration Office of the Advancement of Telehealth.

Findings from the annual survey will provide a picture of the current state of health information exchange in communities and regions across the United States. These findings can help inform public policy initiatives now underway both within the public and private sectors to support interoperability and the use of information technology to address healthcare challenges.

Survey results will also help healthcare stakeholders, including clinicians, health plans, healthcare purchasers, hospitals and other providers, laboratories, patient groups, public health agencies, and state and local government agencies gain a greater understanding of the nature of these initiatives, key barriers to their implementation, and strategies to overcome those barriers. Finally, these findings will help health information exchange initiatives benchmark their levels of readiness with other regions and communities conducting similar work, creating the opportunity for networking and learning.

The results will be offered to several public and private sector dissemination bodies, including the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality National Resource Center for Health Information Technology, which is supporting leaders using health information technology to promote patient safety and quality through over 100 grants and contracts.

"Clearly, interoperability has become a national priority," said Janet M. Marchibroda, Chief Executive Officer of eHealth Initiative and its Foundation. "The eHealth Initiative Foundation's Connecting Communities Program will support Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt's interoperability agenda by linking 'national standards to neighborhood solutions' using the words outlined in his 500-day plan," explained Marchibroda. "The aim of our Connecting Communities Program is to support National HIT Coordinator David J. Brailer, MD, PhD and other national public and private sector leaders by bringing national standards for interoperability to regional and community-based health information exchange efforts across the country to improve the quality, safety and efficiency of healthcare."

Since 2003, the eHealth Initiative Foundation has been working with leaders at the state, regional and community levels to build multi-stakeholder collaborations focused on mobilizing healthcare information across organizations to improve the quality, safety and efficiency of care. In addition to the survey, efforts include:

--  Providing seed funding to nine multi-stakeholder regional and
    community-based health information exchange projects through the Connecting
    Communities for Better Health Program;
--  Launching the Connecting Communities Learning Network, which includes
    a rich set of tools and resources for health information exchange;
--  Building a consortium of over 100 state, regional and community-based
    initiatives that are sharing best practices and lessons learned in the
    field; and
--  Supporting activities of multi-stakeholder working groups tackling key
    issues such as financing and incentives, supporting small physician
    practice implementation, and effectively using HIT to support quality
    initiatives.
    
This year's Second Annual Connecting Communities for Better Health Learning Forum is being held May 25-26 at the Renaissance Hotel, Washington, DC (see http://ccbh.ehealthinitiative.org/ccbhconference/default.mspx for additional information on the event).

The eHealth Initiative and its Foundation are independent, non-profit affiliated organizations whose missions are the same: to drive improvement in the quality, safety and efficiency of healthcare through information and information technology. For more information, go to http://www.ehealthinitiative.org.

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