How do I develop a Health Center Controlled Network?
The process of developing a health center controlled network (HCCN) requires an integrated approach that addresses an array of technological, managerial, political, cultural, and sociological factors. A first step to starting a network is to create a vision for a shared scalable infrastructure; this vision, which often serves as a preliminary business plan, is then presented to the community for feedback. Do not underestimate the importance of achieving buy-in from the community; collaboration across multiple stakeholders is a critical ingredient to the creation of a successful HCCN.
There are several steps that need to be taken to develop a network. Potential members should be able to articulate changes in the local healthcare service and delivery system they would like to see made. The following steps should be completed early in the planning stages of network development:
Once partners/collaborators and common projects and priorities are identified, network structure and governance should be considered. To avoid common road blocks, think early about the following issues:
Many communities across the country have implemented HCCNs and can provide useful advice and guidance on the topic. A variety of tools and resources are also available to help Health Centers with health information exchange at the State, Regional, or Local levels. If possible, consult legal counsel before establishing network structure and governance.
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