The federal government has recognized that healthcare is provided locally and has made health information exchange a focus for the future
Ann Arbor, MI (Vocus) March 1, 2010
The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is pleased to announce the launch of its online CIO State Network (StateNet) to enhance communication among healthcare chief information officers on important state matters related to the HITECH Act passed last year as well as on other key state health IT activity.
The new website http://www.ciostatenet.org will enable all CIOs, whether CHIME members or not, public access to information, communication and coordination among IT executives at the state level. The ambitious project, which will go live later this month, has at least one CIO volunteer for all 50 states, including the District of Columbia.
The state initiative fits with CHIME’s mission of advancing and advocating the role of CIOs and senior healthcare IT leaders by providing educational, collaborative and advocacy programs, said Rich Correll, CHIME’s president and CEO.
StateNet is being launched in an effort to ensure CIOs are kept informed of events in their states, to help their hospitals and health systems take full advantage of state-level activities under the HITECH Act, said Sharon Canner, CHIME’s senior director of Advocacy.
Under the HITECH Act of February 2009, states are tasked with having a state HIE plan; providing a state-designated entity responsible for health IT; offering strategic and operational plans for HIE infrastructure; and providing state-level directories to enable statewide technology platforms for HIEs. Other activities will be happening at the state level, including HIE planning and implementation grants and regional extension centers.
“The federal government has recognized that healthcare is provided locally and has made health information exchange a focus for the future,” said Randy McCleese, CHCIO, FHIMSS, vice president for information services and CIO at St. Claire Regional Medical Center in Morehead, Ky. “Funding for HIEs is being funneled through state governments and healthcare CIOs need to be active to ensure the development of exchanges that meet the needs of healthcare providers. The StateNet program provides CIOs across the country with the opportunity to work locally with the support of CHIME.”
StateNet enables CIOs in states to share important information on their states, while helping CIOs to share intelligence between states as well.
“The primary reason to bring StateNet together is that so much is targeted at state-based initiatives,” said Russ Branzell, FCHIME, CIO and vice president at Poudre Valley Health System, Fort Collins, Colo. “There was nothing out there that has attempted to provide this for all 50 states, and offer common messaging and communication channels.”
States also will have responsibility for operating Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, which are expected to have differing rules for eligibility and EHR-eligible incentive payment amounts.
To support CIO leaders in each state, CHIME has developed a toolkit to help them gather basic information about HIT activity in their states, such as identifying the HIT planning authority, strategic and operational plans, state-level directories, and HIE business and operational processes.
In addition to the development of the toolkit, CHIME is providing resource materials, including an inventory of state recovery and HIT websites. CHIME also has developed individual list-serves for each state, and is creating publicly available Web pages for sharing state-specific information.
“What’s been interesting is that over the last six weeks, CIOs have finally realized that if we don’t do something where we’re leading this, we’re going to be led and we won’t have a voice,” Branzell said.
For example, Colorado CIOs had already started to organize themselves, and having StateNet gives them the ability to easily communicate. “Now, CIOs from outside CHIME’s typical membership are now actively involved in state initiatives,” he said. As an outgrowth of state CIO coordination, the IT executives are assisting the Colorado Hospital Association with planning for a statewide telemedicine initiative.
The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is an executive organization dedicated to serving chief information officers and other senior healthcare IT leaders. With more than 1,400 CIO members and over 70 healthcare IT vendors and professional services firms, CHIME provides a highly interactive, trusted environment enabling senior professional and industry leaders to collaborate; exchange best practices; address professional development needs; and advocate the effective use of information management to improve the health and healthcare in the communities they serve. For more information, please visit http://www.cio-chime.org.