Future Sustainability of the Florida Health Information Exchange

Future Sustainability of the Florida Health Information Exchange

Alice M. Noblin (Department of Health Management & Informatics, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, USA) and Kendall Cortelyou-Ward (Department of Health Management & Informatics, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, USA)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/jcit.2013070103

Abstract

Florida began the journey to health information connectivity in 2004 under Governor Jeb Bush. Initially these efforts were funded by grants, but due to the downturn in the economy, the state was unable to support growth in 2008. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 provided funding to further expand health information exchange efforts across the country. As a result, Florida was now able to move forward and make progress in information sharing. Harris Corporation was contracted to provide some basic services to the health care industry in 2011. Since then, the Florida HIE has begun to take shape and information sharing is occurring. The ARRA funding will end in 2014 and the Florida HIE must have a plan to survive into the future. This plan must address challenges such as the recruitment of new users, integration of new services, and ultimately long term sustainability.
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Organization Background

Efforts toward building a health information exchange (HIE) in Florida began in 2004. The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) laid the foundation for a statewide HIE by organizing health care stakeholders and providing initial funding to local Regional Health Information Organization (RHIO) projects through its grants program. Florida is working to achieve a secure and sustainable approach to health information technology adoption and exchange resulting in better health care outcomes with lowered total costs. The development of a HIE that protects privacy and aligns with national exchange standards is the goal of AHCA. Leveraging existing networks to best achieve widespread adoption is one way to achieve the goal. In 2010, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) provided grant funds through ARRA to significantly advance Florida’s plans to build a statewide health information infrastructure. The provision of sustainable services to meet the meaningful use criteria established by ONC is an important focus of the HIE.

Key services implemented initially included:

  • A patient look-up service.

  • A provider directory.

  • Secure messaging.

  • Public health reporting.

This case study aims to describe the historical journey of the HIE in the State of Florida from 2004 to the present. Significant financial resources from the stimulus package in 2010 have allowed the HIE to move forward by providing the key services above necessary for sharing of patient data. Event Notification Service has also been added to the existing menu. As ONC funding comes to a close, the Florida HIE must now rely on sustainability plans to remain viable. In addition to describing the current structure and services available, we will chronicle the ongoing efforts to develop a sustainability plan for the HIE.

Setting The Stage

Health Information Exchange within the State of Florida began as an Executive Order from Governor Jeb Bush in May, 2004. Governor Bush established an advisory board (Governor’s Health Information Infrastructure Advisory Board [GHIIAB]) to advise AHCA in the creation and implementation of a Florida Health Information Technology (HIT) infrastructure (Greaves et al., 2007). In addition to supporting local data exchanges (RHIOs), the state was working on development of an overarching network to bring the local exchanges together, which has become the current HIE.

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