I've been meaning to comment on this recent item, "Why RHIOs shouldn't exist" from FierceHealthIT. The editor, Anne Zieger, makes a case for her assertion that RHIOs should not exist because they have unrealistic expectations for trust among competing institutions such as hospitals. She states,
"I certainly like the idea of data following me. I love the idea of my providers cooperating. But at the moment, I simply can't see how this kind of data sharing can work in the near future."
Well, patient data sharing is not some novel concept that needs debating. Its already happening, although some do not even realize it. It happens by the fax machine. Patient data sharing is an essential function of caring for patients.
Replacing the fax machine, an inherently in-secure method of data exchange, by a secure electronic exchange is what a RHIOs should be all about The discussion should not be about whether RHIOs should exist, but rather, what is the best model for a RHIO in order to win trust among entities to enable clinical data sharing to take place.
We made a case recently at the recent MSHUG fall Forum 2007, for a RHIO Trust model, which has been very successful in gaining trust among our participants in SEMRHIO.