As Stimulus Money Ends, Summit Looks at Future of Health Information Effort

by David Gorn

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Health information exchange leaders today will meet in Sacramento for the industry's annual summit. The HIE effort in California has been a success in part because it's publicly funded and privately driven, said Pamela Lane, deputy secretary of HIE for the state's Health and Human Services agency.

Federal stimulus funding for HIE will end in February 2014. Lane said the summit is an important bridge to the next wave of HIE innovation.

"This summit focuses on keeping the momentum going," Lane said.

Although federal funding is ending, the effort to expand the use and exchange of electronic health information will continue in California, Lane said. Electronic availability of health data is an ongoing project in various stages of development across the state, she said. 

"The future of health care is managing transitions of care," Lane said in an interview earlier this year. The successful expansion of HIE has to happen in one state first, then other states will follow suit, she said.

"This is essential for every model of health care the rest of the country has," Lane said. "If we can figure it out here, we can figure it out for the rest of the country."

Lane said the need for HIE is pushing its success: "This is like marriage," she said, "where it's not so much the right person, but it's the right time. That's what this is. Because this is culture change, we've all realized we can't wait for return on investment numbers or we're going to wait forever."


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