Over the past several years, new structures known as Regional Health Information Organizations, or RHIOs, have begun to appear on the healthcare scene. RHIOs are intended to be neutral coalition platforms that facilitate the secure exchange of electronic healthcare information in ways that let everyone who touches healthcarepatients, employers, physicians, hospitals, and health plansmake better decisions.
In a sense, RHIOs are community healthcare utilities that support better decision-making but don't try to otherwise influence decisions. A good analogy is a mass transit system. It gets people in the community where they want to go, safely and efficiently. It doesn't require them to travel particular routes or favor people who want to go to certain destinations.
To be successful, a RHIO should:
• Be a neutral collaborative platform for healthcare information exchange that serves all healthcare constituencies.
• Facilitate more complete patient information for everyone in the system.
• Promote better, more efficient care by improving decision-making and reducing unnecessary services.
• Achieve financial stability and sustainability by bringing measurable value to each participating group, although the way the RHIO benefits each group may be different.