Regional Health Information Network (Rhios)

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U.S. healthcare delivery system is very fragmented. In 2004, health information exchange (HIE) was formulated by President Bush. The organizations designed to accomplish HIE are often called regional health information organizations (RHIOs). “RHIO is a type of health information exchange organization that brings together healthcare stakeholders within a defined geographic area and governs health information exchange among them for the purpose of improving health and care in that community” (Health Resources & Services Administration [HRSA], n.d.). These organizations work simultaneously to form a network referred as regional health information network (RHIN). “The HIE networks has the potential to reduce up to 18% of patient safety errors and…show more content…
Prior to 2009, inadequate participation in HIEs were reported due to lack of funding which resulted in “no viable business plan” (Clemens, Verna and Kurt, 2014). Thereafter, with the provision of financial incentive in HITECH Act, RHIN gained significant momentum in recruiting provider organizations for securely exchanging patient’s medical data. This resulted in the development of a viable business plan. In addition, assuring security of the patient data was another barrier for establishing RHIOs. RHIOs must maintain patient’s privacy and security in a manner that complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Some other key challenges faced in achieving long-term viability, broad participation and financial sustainability were providing technical support to its authorized users, integrating disparate data sources, and developing a technologically capable server to store patient data (Joshua & Larry, 2010). Thus, HITECH Act helped RHIN and other forms of HIEs in developing a more integrated and less wasteful healthcare delivery system.
Key use cases that were considered. In the Wisconsin Health Information Network (WHIN), the following key use cases were considered: Information Provider Interface, The Network Switch and the Information User
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Consider a scenario of a teenager boy for comparing with this case study. A teenager boy who was found lying unconscious on the road was brought to the ER by EMS. The only information available at that time was his name and date of birth. Due to availability of RHIO in the ER, the physician was quickly able to access his demographics and past medical records. RHIO immensely helped in locating his parents and diagnose his medical condition. If there was no RHIO system available, then the hospital would have spent significant amount of time and resources in locating his parents as well as finding his medical history. Moreover, the hospital would have performed unnecessary diagnostic tests to figure out the reason of his unconsciousness. Also, the boy’s condition would have worsened by the time the hospital have been able to obtain his accurate medical information. This scenario provides a good comparison between the use of RHIO by WHIN and its current applications. The above scenario made me realized the advantages of RHIO. In my opinion, I would have encouraged the use of RHIO by EMS personnel. This could have helped the EMS in identifying the appropriate cause of his unconsciousness and they could have been able to manage his medical condition prior to the ER
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