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What is a regional health information organization (RHIO)?

A regional health information organization (RHIO) is a type of health information exchange organization (HIO) that brings together health care stakeholders within a defined geographic area and governs health information exchange among them for the purpose of improving health and care in that community.  In present form, most current efforts for health information exchange are regional health information organizations.

RHIOs typically include a range of participating health care provider entities as well as other health stakeholders such as payers, laboratories and public health departments and are often managed by a board of directors comprised of representatives from each participating organization.  In order for RHIOs to be established, various stakeholders have to develop consensus on what information can be shared among different participating entities.  In addition, prior to exchanging information the various entities need to sign data use agreements.  Because the capacity to effectively store and manage clinical data electronically is a prerequisite for participating in health information exchange, RHIOs often have programs to assist affiliated providers with health IT adoption at the institutional level.
 
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