The Arizona REC and HIE at EHR Summit

Posted on November 18, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

While attending the EHR Summit by HBMA, I got the chance to learn more about the AZ REC and HIE. Here are some tweets about the things they said that worth noting with my own comments:

Arizona REC

AZ REC had trouble getting vendors to take their free EHR interns. #EHRSummit11

This was pretty interesting since they said that doctors were more than willing to take on their student interns, but vendors were reticent to take them on. I do love the education program that the AZ REC put together. Internships like this are valuable.

Biggest complaint the HIT students had was access to actual EHR software. AZ REC created a EHR software lab to solve it. #EHRSummit11

This is a really common complaint by the RECs. In fact, I just helped a REC get access to some EHR software to solve this problem. It’s amazing to me that more EHR vendors aren’t happy to provide their software for these education programs.

AZ REC has a list serv of 2500 doctors and a list for vendors. See: #EHRSummit11

I found it interesting that they had a doctor list and a vendor list. Makes sense.

AZ REC looking at optimizing health IT for ACO’s to be sustainable. I think this will be a common strategy. #EHRSummit11

The idea of REC sustainability is an important one. I think many are looking towards the ACO requirements as one pathway to sustainability. Of course, how stable are ACO’s? One thing seems certain, the relationships the RECs create with doctors could be leveraged for good if done right.

Arizona HIE

The case for the benefits of good information from something like a HIE is easy. The problem is making it actually happen. #EHRSummit11

This was my gut response when the AZ HIE was talking about the benefits of having the information an HIE provides. I don’t think I’ve heard anyone say that exchanging information would be a bad thing and produce worse clinical outcomes. Sure, they want to ensure privacy of the data when it’s done, but the benefits of having the best information are completely apparent.

HINAz (AZ HIE) didn’t depend on grants to create the HIE. They focused on the benefits of the HIE to users. #EHRSummit11

This seems like something that’s a bit unique to AZ. Most HIE’s are so focused on the grant funding. In this sense, I think that this might give the AZ HIE a chance to be successful. Plus, I loved that they did actual research into which users benefited from the HIE.

AZ HIE, Hospitals pay 50% of costs, Plans pay 50% of costs. Physicians pay nominal fee to participate (cause nominal benefit). #EHRSummit11

This is where the real fun begins. The hospitals and plans are paying for the HIE since the AZ HIE found that they’re the ones that would benefit from it. They found that doctors received nominal benefits from using the HIE and so they shouldn’t be charged to use it. Of course, the other beneficiaries not mentioned here is the benefit to the patients. I’m sure hospitals and plans will pass the cost on to patients, so I guess that works out in the end.