Latest Funding for Health Information Exchanges – Creating a glide path to Interoperability

MariEarlier this month, the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) announced a new funding opportunity to advance interoperable health information technology services to support HIEs. With a total of $28 million  being awarded to approximately 10-12 HIEs around the country, these grants  demonstrate how much ONC values the work these organizations have done to date and how they are integral to building a learning health system.

While the opportunity is targeted for existing State Designated Entities, or SDEs, ONC will accept proposals from non-SDEs with support from the state’s governor or health IT coordinator. Many of these SDEs were stood up during the first round of ONC funding as part of the 2010 State Cooperative Agreement Program. This latest round of funding wants to leverage the initial investment as well as infuse more capital into entities focused on ‘needle-moving’ from an interoperability standpoint.

ONC has been extremely busy. As many of us know, ONC also released the first version of its  Interoperability Roadmap, which highlights guiding principles that tie directly to the work that HIEs currently do. For example, ‘build upon existing health IT infrastructure’ and ‘one size does not fit all’ are principles cited that  many HIEs embody and have engrained into their business models, technology architectures and sustainability plans.

It is no secret  the role a HIE plays within the broader healthcare landscape is still unclear. What is clear is that they serve a crucial role facilitating and transporting information to meet MU requirements, enabling interoperability, but most importantly, to achieve the triple healthcare aim (lower cost, high quality of care and healthy patients).

Over the last five years, HIEs have created a space that allows providers to obtain the information they need to ensure they make the best decisions possible at the bedside, and thus, they have become an integral piece of the healthcare puzzle.

It is my belief the latest ONC funding opportunity for HIEs continues to highlight the essential and intentional role  these organizations play across the country, as HIEs continue to move  our country’s healthcare system in the right direction.

I wonder where we would be without them? What are your thoughts about the latest funding opportunity for HIEs? Do you think it is a good use of time and resources or is the money better spent elsewhere?


 Listen to the latest HIE in Practice Podcast 

Episode #9: Creative Sustainability (Part 1)

In this informal and engaging podcast series, HIE Committee member and CMS Health IT Specialist Katy Dyer talks with the Kentucky Health Information Exchange’s Polly Mullins-Bentley about how KHIE has approached everything from onboarding to state-wide collaboration in their ongoing mission to bring reliable and responsible health information exchange to the state of Kentucky. Episode Transcript.


Please participate in the HIE  DIRECT Survey:

HIMSS’ Health Information Exchange (HIE) and Interoperability & Standards (I&S) Committees are asking for your feedback on use of Direct messaging to facilitate health information exchange.  Your participation will provide valuable real-time market information about a topic of growing interest within the healthcare community.  Direct messaging was designed to increase interoperability, and this survey hopes to provide visibility on progress made to-date on the use and value of Direct messaging. Click here to learn more about and participate in the survey.


About Mari Greenberger, MPPA

Director of Informatics at HIMSS North America
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