'Sustainable' E-Health Data Exchange Debuts - InformationWeek

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'Sustainable' E-Health Data Exchange Debuts

The new eHealth Value and Sustainability Model and related tools aim to help regional health-care providers.

Need help building a regional health data exchange? New tools are available for free via the Web from eHealth Initiative and Foundation.

The non-profit organization that's been studying the sustainability of health information exchanges for the last four years launched its data exchange this week.

The new eHealth Value and Sustainability Model and tools aim to help those who are conceptualizing or are already in the midst of creating a regional effort for health-care providers to exchange patient data, said eHealth CEO Janet Marchibroda.

eHealth recently completed a four-year study that evaluated several successful regional health data exchanges. The tools incorporate key findings from the study, such as how to build "social capital" or trust and goodwill among competitors and stakeholders involved with a health data exchange.

As health-care providers digitize patient records in their own offices, hospitals, clinics and other settings, the bigger national goal is have this data securely accessible when needed by other health-care providers in a community, and eventually via a national health information network.

However, health-care providers tackling these endeavors face a host of challenges besides technology issues, including competitive concerns, patient privacy, security, the outlay of expenses, and the sustainability of exchanges long term.

eHealth's new toolset can help health-care providers, as well as organizations contributing financial support to these projects, sort out many of these issues.

The tools include a market readiness assessment tool; a tool estimating the value created by any health information network; an estimator of risk involving investors, community data exchange returns and level of financial subsidization; and a business plan "pro forma," including interactive health information exchange financial statements.

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