August 26, 2009 By Emily Montandon, Associate Editor
Governors of all U.S. states and territories received an offer this week from NaviNet, a commercial health information exchange (HIE) provider, to develop a branded portal through which regional HIEs, hospitals, insurers and others in the health-care industry could exchange medical information.
Around 770,000 health-care providers across the U.S. and its territories already use the NaviNet network, according to the company.
The NaviNet system allows users to exchange financial, administrative or clinical information across its network, depending on their role in providing patient care. According to Kendra Obrist, chief marketing officer for NaviNet, states would incur no costs for signing up, but the company would charge providers and payers throughout the state for using the network.
"If you think about health information exchange and the ability to move information from point A to point B, [we] view our offer much like providing a road or a bridge free to a state so they could use it, and then we would make our money, in essence, from collecting the tolls," said Obrist. "From a state government perspective, it allows them to not have to make the one-time upfront investment in building that roadway."
Obrist said NaviNet is offering its services as a way to help states avoid spending planning and development grants building their own HIE infrastructures.
"The states are busily writing applications for grant money in order to establish health information exchanges in their states for their providers, their physicians and hospitals to participate in," she said. "So in essence, what we're offering to them is as they go through that process, instead of having to spend some of that grant money on building the infrastructure, they can spend it on other things, like educating their providers and helping them implement EMRs."
Most states are in various stages of developing HIEs. Obrist said states could use the state-branded NaviNet portal to connect existing regional HIEs or bridge to HIEs in neighboring states.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.