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NRHI, SHIEC Partner to Support HIEs, Interoperability Infrastructure

NRHI and SHIEC have teamed up to form an organization that aims to support local HIES and strengthen the national interoperability infrastructure.

The Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI) and the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC) have partnered to form Civitas Networks for Health, a new organization that aims to support local health information exchanges (HIEs) and collaboratives to strengthen the national interoperability infrastructure.

The partnership comes after a one-year due diligence process that will end on October 1, 2021 with the official organization launch. 

NRHI represents regional health improvement collaboratives (RHICs) and state-affiliated partner organizations. RHICs are neutral, nonprofit organizations governed by multi-stakeholder boards of consumers, providers, payers, and purchasers of healthcare. These organizations help local stakeholders implement healthcare strategies that aim to improve the health and healthcare of their communities. 

SHIEC represents statewide, regional, and community HIEs. SHIEC’s HIE members are nonprofit organizations governed by multi-stakeholder boards and state-designated entities that support secure health data exchange. SHIEC’s members work to boost care coordination and care management across healthcare systems and communities through enhanced interoperability.

Together as Civitas Networks for Health, these organizations will become a platform for multi-stakeholder, cross-sector health collaboratives and networks to partner with local entities, similar organizations throughout the country, and the federal government on interoperability projects.

The new organization will offer full members, affiliated members, and strategic business and health IT partners engagement opportunities for increased collaboration, shared learning, and thought leadership, as well as technical expertise for community-level improvements.

Lisa Bari, MBA, MPH, interim chief executive officer for SHIEC, will serve as interim chief executive officer for the new organization.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, there is renewed energy for the role of community health leaders to advance local transformation in line with national goals for healthcare quality, cost, and equity,” Bari said in a public statement. “It will take collaboration with these local organizations to truly transform health and build the trusted relationships that can help us achieve a national interoperability infrastructure.”

“We believe that by bringing providers, purchasers, payers, and patients together to advance data-driven progress and strategies for improved health, we can meet the post-pandemic demand for better systems and structures that support our path to better health,” she continued.

Collectively, Civitas Networks for Health will represent 75 regional and statewide HIEs and 19 RHICs, along with 23 HIE and RHIC affiliate members and 55 strategic business and health IT members.

Combined, the organization will represent 95 percent of the country, including 45 states and the District of Columbia.

SHIEC board chair and Contexture CEO, Melissa Kotrys, noted that the partnership is a logical next step for SHIEC.

“Building closer ties with NRHI’s regional health improvement collaboratives makes perfect sense,” said Kotrys. “We believe that, together, we can build a broader network to enhance and inform local, state, and federal health policy issues and private sector solutions which are built on data, best practices and trust.”

As the organizations team up, they set out to help support a national interoperability infrastructure through widespread industry collaboration.

Greater interoperability could benefit the industry in a variety of ways, including enhanced clinical insights, increased care coordination, improved public health case reporting, and mitigated clinician burden.

“Each organization brings to the partnership complementary knowledge and expertise critical to transforming the US healthcare system,” said Ana English, NRHI’s board chair and Center for Improving Value in Health Care (CIVHC) president and CEO. “Together we are in a unique position to achieve our goals of improving health and healthcare overall.”

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