Regional Health Information Organizations (RHIOs) will likely play a key role in our nation’s effort to catalyze health information exchange. Yet we know little about why some efforts succeed while others fail. We sought to identify factors associated with RHIO viability.
Using data from a national survey of RHIOs that we conducted in mid-2008, we examined factors associated with becoming operational and factors associated with financial viability. We used multivariate logistic regression models to identify unique predictors.
We classified RHIOs actively facilitating data exchange as operational and measured financial viability as the percent of operating costs covered by revenue from participants in data exchange (0–24%, 25–74%, 75–100%). Predictors included breadth of participants, breadth of data exchanged, whether the RHIO focused on a specific population, whether RHIO participants had a history of collaborating, and sources of revenue during the planning phase.
Exchanging a narrow set of data and involving a broad group of stakeholders were independently associated with a higher likelihood of being operational. Involving hospitals and ambulatory physicians, and securing early funding from participants were associated with a higher likelihood of financial viability, while early grant funding seemed to diminish the likelihood.
Finding ways to help RHIOs become operational and self-sustaining will bolster the current approach to nationwide health information exchange. Our work suggests that convening a broad coalition of stakeholders to focus on a narrow set of data is an important step in helping RHIOs become operational. Convincing stakeholders to financially commit early in the process may help RHIOs become self-sustaining.
Adler-Milstein, Julia, John Landefeld, and Ashish K. Jha. “Characteristics associated with Regional Health Information Organization viability.” J Am Med Inform Assoc 17, no. 1 (January 2010): 61-65.