ONC Offers Rural Providers Some Health Information Exchange Guidance

Made available through the ONC's National Rural Health Resource Center, the toolkit provides a set of "practical" HIE resources designed to help rural health stakeholders, including State Offices of Rural Health and Flex Programs, rural hospitals and clinics, critical access hospitals (CAHs), rural health networks, and other invested parties, develop and manage HIEs.

The toolkit includes the following components:

Health Information Exchange – First Considerations. This document covers the first steps in forming or joining an HIE. The guide also includes a readiness self-assessment tool designed around governance, sustainability, technology, legal and policy, provider adoption, evaluation and consumer engagement domains.

HIE DIRECT Guide. Included in this guide are a description of technologies used, a glossary of terms and recommendations on implementing DIRECT, which is a set of standards, protocols and services that enable simple, secure electronic transport of health information (push messaging) between healthcare participants (e.g. providers, labs). The goal of DIRECT is to facilitate “direct” communication with a focus towards more advanced levels of interoperability than simple paper can provide.

ROI Calculator.  This spreadsheet calculates potential savings and costs of implementing an electronic health record (EHR) and a health information exchange (HIE). Sources are listed along with each calculation.

Privacy and Security Overview and Resource List.  This compilation of resources includes the privacy and security requirements for organizations participating in an HIE as well as a list of HIPAA-related resources.

HIE Policy Matrix. This documents provides “policy models” adapted from The Connecting for Health Common Framework. The policy suggestions specifically emanate from Section P2: Model Privacy Policies and Procedures for Health Information Exchange, which contains much of the necessary policy and procedure language needed for an HIE.

The toolkit was developed through the Rural Health Information Technology Network Development (RHITND) Program, which is funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (HRSA, DHHS) through a contract to the National Rural Health Resource Center.