The urge to merge among health information exchanges continues with the announcement that the HIEs in Colorado and Arizona plan to form a regional health data utility in the West.
Most recently announced mergers of HIEs have consolidated organizations within a particular state. But Denver-based CORHIO and Phoenix-based Health Current have entered formal discussions to strategically align their organizations to better serve the healthcare data needs in Colorado and Arizona, while preparing for future consolidation in the HIE landscape and possibly for becoming a Qualified Health Information Network (QHIN) under the TEFCA framework. Together, they work with approximately 1,320 healthcare organizations across both states. By coming together, the HIEs say they have the potential to create the largest health data utility in the West.
Speaking on Aug. 25 at the virtual annual meeting of the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative, John Kansky, president and CEO of the Indiana Health Information Exchange (IHIE), made the case that HIE organizations should cooperate across state borders through affiliation or consolidation and should be treated like public utilities. “HIEs need scale,” he said. “We need to cooperate and leverage the investments we need to make. If we are going to spend seven figures to API-enable our platform, it is easier to do with three other HIEs. The economies of scale are obvious. I would offer the Patient-Centered Data Home as an example of HIEs working together in a multistate fashion, but there also needs to be business affiliation to seize on economies of scale and increase influence at the national level.”
CORHIO and Health Current say they are logical regional partners. In addition to their geographic proximity, both operate in good business and financial health, and share similar goals, values, and culture. Both organizations are dedicated to improving care coordination and clinical outcomes for their communities, as well as to supporting their respective state’s HIE and health information technology initiatives.
“This strategic alignment of two established, successful and long-standing HIEs is crucial to drive increased value to our healthcare communities and employees,” says Melissa Kotrys, Health Current CEO, in a statement. “By joining forces and partnering with additional organizations who wish to join this regional HIE, we will be well positioned for successful participation in national interoperability models.”
“The next evolution for HIEs is to become regional health data utilities for their communities, providing vital services just like the water, electric, and other essential utilities,” said Morgan Honea, CORHIO CEO, in a statement. “CORHIO and Health Current are among the forerunners to strategically align and create the infrastructure for regional and nationwide interoperability by building a business and operating model that will further advance our collective services and community support.”
The ultimate joining of CORHIO and Health Current to form a new regional organization will be subject to various conditions, including entering into a formal agreement.
Also at the recent SHIEC event, Kotrys outlined the service priorities Health Current developed in its most recent strategic plan.