Grant Backs Health IT Initiative
Gary Newell, executive project director for the nonprofit
"The outcome is to develop a business plan for the health information exchange in the 13-county area," said Patrick O'Hare, senior vice president and chief information officer at Spectrum Health, one of three "tri-chairs" of the Alliance for Health's Health Care Vision 2020 initiative that is focusing on technology.
Newell said the Health Information Network would allow health care providers of all types, such as hospitals, physician practices and clinics, across counties served by
The grant is one of eight totaling $4.5 million released by the Michigan Departments of Community Health and Information Technology last month. Newell said the goal is to create Regional Health Information Organizations across the state, which would be supported by a
"It's a complex field for which the technology has started to advance in the market to allow successes," he said.
Tying together everyone, from a paper-based, one-doctor rural practice to health systems already using electronic health records, is a challenge, he added. "What kind of plan can address the needs of practices with very robust information technology to those with little technology? In some cases, the outlying areas don't even have broadband.
"It's not necessarily a single technology. It might be a combination of a number of technologies."
Newell said the
Communication and trust will be crucial in developing and HIE for
"There are three major barriers in getting this done, and No. 1 is money," added Newell, a former legislator from
"No. 2 is the involvement of people who need to be involved in the process. This is a bigger hurdle to overcome than raising the money. The systems that have had problems seem to revolve around not getting enough people in the health care community involved in the process.
"No. 3 is public acceptance of the electronic exchanging of health information," Newell said.
The grant comes at the same time as the