Large amounts of federal money have been pouring into states to fund HIE creation. But what is the return on this investment? A recent survey indicated that only 50% of HIEs intend to even try to demonstrate or track their ROI! With financial sustainability continuing to be the number one concern for HIEs, demonstrating value should be a top priority.
But ROI is only one issue plaguing HIEs—there’s also the issue of sustainability. Kansas is an example of sustainability gone wrong. Its HIE recently voted to dissolve and turn operations over to the state. While the initial federal grant provided needed startup funds, the HIE could not create a workable plan to cover the estimated $400,000 in annual operating costs.
Situations such as Kansas’ highlight the potential for additional problems, especially in locations where the state HIE is also being utilized to meet Federal Meaningful Use requirements. The failure of an HIE in one of these locations would be challenging for hospitals and medical centers—which would then fail to maintain their Meaningful Use 2 certification and lose federal reimbursements.
Healthcare professionals and facilities currently working with an HIE would be wise to keep a close eye on the financial viability and sustainability of the HIE they are working with.