SHIEC, Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement to Merge

Aug. 16, 2021
New Civitas Networks for Health to serve as a platform for local nonprofit health collaboratives and health information exchanges to work together to advance policy goals

Kicking off its annual conference in Arizona, the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC) announced it would be merging with the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI) to form a new organization named Civitas Networks for Health.

The new organization will serve as a platform for local nonprofit health collaboratives and health information exchanges to work together on policy goals and improvement efforts. It will offer engagement opportunities and support action at the local, state, and national levels to achieve policy goals for healthcare quality, cost, and equity through data-driven, collaborative, and transformative strategies. The affiliation comes after a one-year due diligence process that will culminate on October 1, 2021 with the organizational launch of Civitas Networks for Health.

Portland, Me.-based NRHI represents regional health improvement collaboratives (RHICs) and state-affiliated partner organizations across the United States. RHICs are nonprofit organizations governed by multi-stakeholder boards that include consumers, healthcare providers, payers, and purchasers of healthcare. They are trusted, neutral conveners that help their local stakeholders identify opportunities and implement strategies that will improve the health and healthcare of their communities. 

SHIEC represents statewide, regional, and community health information exchanges (HIEs). SHIEC’s HIE members are nonprofit organizations governed by multi-stakeholder boards and state-designated entities which manage and provide for the secure digital exchange of health data for hospitals, healthcare providers, and other participants. Its members work to improve care coordination and care management across healthcare systems and communities, enable more informed clinical decisions, and reduce hospital readmissions and other preventable expenditures such as unnecessary or duplicative tests and procedures. 

Lisa Bari, M.B.A., M.P..H, interim chief executive officer for SHIEC, will serve as interim chief executive officer for the new organization. 

Speaking at the opening of the annual conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., Bari said, “We are a national collaborative, comprised of member organizations working to use health information exchange health data and multistakeholder cross-sector approaches to improve health in our communities. We educate, promote and influence both the private sector and policymakers on matters of interoperability, quality, coordination, health, equity, and cost effectiveness of healthcare. We support local health innovators, by amplifying their voices at the national level, and increasing the exchange of resources, tools and ideas.”

She said their vision for the future is that communities across the country will be thriving and healthy, realizing the full potential of data-driven, multistakeholder and cross-sector approaches to HIE and health improvement. “We intend to convene action-oriented thought leaders and implementers at the local, regional, state and national level. We really are a community of implementers. And it is our job at Civitas to bring the work that you all are doing up to that national level, get visibility for that work, make connections, and help tell your story to federal and national partners, and folks at the state and local level as well.”

She said Civitas intends to continue to “educate public and private entities about the benefits, the functions, the roles of HIEs, all payer claims databases, regional health improvement collaboratives and the organizations that cross many definitions.”

The new organization will offer full members, affiliated members and strategic business and technology partners opportunities for increased collaboration and shared learning; thought leadership and technical expertise on community-level improvements; and education and public advocacy regarding the benefits, functions and role of HIEs, RHICs and multidisciplinary organizations. 

Civitas will collectively represent 75 regional and statewide HIEs and 19 RHICs. In addition to those full members, they will also encompass 23 HIE and RHIC affiliate members and 55 strategic business and technology members. Their combined footprint will represent 95 percent of the United States, including 45 states and the District of Columbia, with a shared mission of working with local communities to achieve improved health outcomes at a lower cost. 

“Each organization brings to the partnership complementary knowledge and expertise critical to transforming the U.S. healthcare system,” said Ana English, NRHI’s Board Chair and president and CEO of Center for Improving Value in Health Care (CIVHC), in a statement. “NRHI members have experience collecting and reporting on measures of healthcare quality and/or cost, designing initiatives to help healthcare providers and payors improve performance, and working directly with employers and other purchasers to push for value. SHIEC members have trusted data repositories, are experts in connectivity, and serve as problem solvers in their communities. Together we are in a unique position to achieve our goals of improving health and healthcare overall.”

Watch Healthcare Innovation for further coverage of the SHIEC annual meeting this week.