Interoperability strategies a must to qualify for HIE funds

Timathie Leslie, managing director of Manatt Health Solutions

The health information exchange (HIE) landscape is changing rapidly since the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), according to one healthcare consultant.

With ARRA funds to be distributed through state governments or state-designated entities, "the stimulus has at least awakened and made states alerted to the incentives," Timathie Leslie, managing director of Manatt Health Solutions, told healthcare IT executives at a summit in San Francisco last week.

States and state-designated entities have important roles to play, including defining meaningful use for Medicaid and developing strategic and operational plans for statewide e-health infrastructure. Leslie said. Hospitals and health systems and large physician practices need to get involved as well to qualify for the HIE funds.

Leslie recommended that all stakeholders assess and develop their assets for connectivity. Health IT systems need to be CCHIT-certified where required and have the ability to identify, collect and analyze data, which will help satisfy the meaningful use requirements for reporting and information exchange, she said.

All stakeholders need to assess their current capability and plans to connect with local providers outside their four walls. If a local, regional or statewide HIE exists, stakeholders should get involved. Ultimately, stakeholders need to learn how to use the "levers" of the incentives to meet their own clinical, operational and financial goals, Leslie said.