Survey: Majority say HIEs not providing value

The vast majority of providers and payers using health information exchanges (HIEs) are skeptical about the networks' future, according to the results of a survey conducted by Black Book.

The research firm polled 1,500 providers and 794 payers using public and private HIEs during the second half of 2013. Ninety-five percent of payers, 83 percent of hospitals and 70 percent of physicians said that publicly-funded HIEs are struggling with flawed business models and are not providing meaningful connectivity. Almost three-quarters (72 percent) of respondents said that there could be as few as 10 of the currently functioning public HIEs supported by federal grants still operating by 2017 when the grants come to an end. The HIEs need to find better business models, improve their processes and create ways to encourage participation. Nearly all healthcare organizations believe community/regional and private HIEs are better suited to meet their needs.

Although the HITECH Act funded more than $500 million for state HIEs, 94 percent of surveyed payers don’t see the value proposition in these entities. Less than one-third of the payers are participating in public HIEs and 86 percent reject paying the annual fees despite expected benefits of reducing costs by cutting duplicate tests and procedures, reducing readmissions and identifying population health trends. Nearly all payer respondents say public HIEs are struggling to exchange data between payers and providers.

More than 80 percent of all respondents said they believe a national, operational, public HIE is at least 10 years away. One-third of surveyed multi-provider networks and hospital systems are considering private HIEs to better standardize sharing of data. Almost all of the surveyed providers think payers should reward providers for using HIE when that leads to reduced costs and improved care.