SOURCE: eHealth Initiative

March 08, 2005 19:00 ET

eHI Goes to 'RHIO' During National Health IT Summit

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 8, 2005 -- Nationally known experts who use information technology (IT) and health information exchange to improve healthcare took center stage this week as they shared insights on how to form a regional health information organization (RHIO). The live 'how to' came on day one of the Health Information Technology (HIT) Summit West, a two-day conference sponsored by the eHealth Initiative (eHI), a Washington-based nonprofit organization driving healthcare quality, safety and efficiency through information technology.

The term "RHIO," which comes from the Department of Health and Human Services Framework for Strategic Action issued last July, refers to regional and community-based health information organizations and networks. Players representing large health plans, hospitals, physician groups, healthcare IT suppliers, public health, and the government came together to explore the challenges and strategies related to HIT and health information exchange. Additionally, over 60 representatives from community health information exchanges in 22 states as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico participated in pre-conference symposia Sunday which featured a session on RHIO case studies.

The HIT Summit West also trained the spotlight on developing and implementing financing and incentives programs for HIT adoption, with breakout sessions and presentations showing actual case studies from employers and health plans as well as early results from "market experiments" leveraging HIT for chronic care improvement and quality measurement.

Opening the proceedings, eHI CEO Janet M. Marchibroda called the HIT Summit West "a great opportunity to build upon the work of our Connecting Communities for Better Health Program, which was launched in 2003 to support states, regions and communities interested in mobilizing data to support patient care. The increase in the number of community stakeholders that joined us this week is yet another sign that the interoperability agenda is gaining rapid momentum across the US."

Following Marchibroda, keynote speaker Carolyn M. Clancy, MD, Director Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, discussed the role of HIT in improving healthcare quality and safety. The Agency is now overseeing $139 million in HIT-related grants and contracts as well as the development of a national Resource Center.

Day two of the HIT Summit West featured Mark B. McClellan, MD, PhD, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, another federal agency at the forefront of HIT. Second day proceedings also included a panel discussion on governmental and foundation funding for HIT acquisition and implementation with additional speakers from AHRQ and CMS as well as from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

eHI's Second Annual HIT Summit in Washington, DC is scheduled for September 7-9, 2005.

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

Note to Editors: On May 25-26, eHI holds its Second Annual Connecting for Communities for Better Health Learning Forum in Washington, DC. For more information, see

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