Results from a national survey of regional health information organizations show simplicity and early funding commitments from participants improve viability of the initiatives.

Researchers from Harvard University, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Boston Veterans Affairs Hospital surveyed all known RHIOs in the United States in mid-2008. They examined two main outcome measures: whether the RHIO was operational and the percent of operating costs covered by revenue from participants.

"Exchanging a narrow set of data and involving a broad group of stakeholders were independently associated with a higher likelihood of being operational," study authors concluded. "Involving hospitals and ambulatory physicians, and securing early funding from participants were associated with a higher likelihood of financial viability, while early grant funding seemed to diminish the likelihood."

The study, "Characteristics Associated with Regional Health Information Organization Viability," was published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. The current issue is available at http://jamia.bmj.com.

Based on a survey of 1,043 licensed physicians in Massachusetts, a separate study in the issue examines physician attitudes toward health information exchange. Researchers concluded that surveyed physicians generally have a positive perception of HIE, but are not willing to pay for participation and have concerns about privacy.

--Joseph Goedert

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