Monday, July 31, 2006

Sustainable RHIO Model Focuses on Continuous Quality Improvement

We have just presented a breakthrough RHIO (regional health information organization) model to a group of businesses, providers and payors in northeast Pennsylvania. It views a RHIO as something more than an information technology organization for exchanging patient data. It is, in a sense, like a “community healthcare utility” that supports better decision-making in ways the RHIO membership determines. This is analogous to and electric company, which makes electricity available to the community to use as they wish, except instead of electricity, the RHIO supplies information and decision tools to a network of collaborators focused on the continuous improvement of care effectiveness, efficiency, safety, timeliness and affordability.

This model enables financial stability and sustainability to the membership by bringing measurable value to each of their constituencies – including healthcare providers across all disciplines, employers/purchasers, payers/insurers, researchers and educators, and patients/consumers – though the way it benefits each constituency varies. It stresses active buy-in and participation of the employer/purchasing community, which enables it to enforce disciplines of transparency/accountability on the health care community, thereby encouraging market stability. It enables and reward providers for delivering top-quality care, e.g., through building a high-fidelity healthcare system, offering P4P incentives, building practitioner-researcher collaborative networks, and complementing sick-care with well-care. And it operates through a community-based, not-for-profit organization hosted under the auspices of a neutral party, like a university.

The audience was very receptive to this RHIO model.

What I love about this model is its economic sustainability and focus on delivering health and financial benefits to all community stakeholders, while focusing on continually improving care saftety, effectiveness and efficiency through the implementation and evolution of scientific knowledge.

Here are three recent articles in the press:
http://www.timesleader.com/mld/thetimesleader/2006/07/27/business/15132660.htm
http://www.nhds.com/nepa_rhio_times_tribune.htm
http://www.ihealthbeat.org/index.cfm?Action=dspItem&itemID=123673

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