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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Health Information Technology and Quality

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What should I consider before starting a regional health information organization (RHIO)?

The process of starting a RHIO requires an integrated approach that addresses an array of technological, managerial, political, cultural, and sociological factors. A first step to starting a RHIO is to create a vision for health information exchange. This vision, or 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 RHIO.
To avoid common road blocks, think early about the following issues:

  • Achieving buy-in for a RHIO
  • Determining best practice process for resolving conflicting organizational missions
  • Establishing trust within and across the RHIO
  • Clarifying roles and responsibilities within the RHIO
  • Creating a RHIO governance structure?
  • Identifying best practices for managing finances and prioritizing projects

Many communities across the country have implemented RHIOs and can provide useful advice and guidance on the topic. A variety of tools and resources are also available to help health centers, other safety net providers and ambulatory care providers with health information exchange at the State, Regional, or Local levels.

Resources on Planning for a RHIO:

Developed by the Health Resources and Services Administration as a resource for health centers and other safety net and ambulatory care providers who are seeking to implement health IT.
Health Information Technology Toolboxes help health centers, safety net providers, and ambulatory care providers with electronic and online resources and technical assistance to improve patient care.  More>
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