About 20 health information exchanges are developing a new trade association, called the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative, or SHIEC.

The dues-paying organization has a board of directors, a website in development and is recruiting for an executive director. Dick Thompson, executive director of Quality Health Network in western Colorado, is chair of the board.

Having a trade organization will enable HIEs to speak with one voice, help them take advantage of economies of scale, promote business models and education on HIEs to support sustainability, form joint ventures, and collaborate to inform policymakers, according to Thompson.

Board members have been meeting informally at conferences and through monthly conference calls for several years and now seek to formalize collaboration and invite other HIEs.

Board members represent Quality Health Network, HealtheLINK, Healthbridge, Utah Health Information Network, Arizona Health-e Connection, NYU Langone Medical Center and Nebraska Health Information Initiative.

Members expect to announce an executive director and launch of the website in January. For more information, contact Dick Thompson at dthompson@qualityhealthnetwork.com.

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