NASCIO Brief Highlights the Role of a State CIO in Regional Health Information Organizations

"NASCIO members recognize that state CIO involvement in health IT is inevitable."

by / July 25, 2007

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), which represents the chief information officers (CIOs) of the states, is pleased to announce the release of its brief On The Road to RHIO: What State CIOs Need to Know.

Regional health information organizations (RHIOs) allow providers access to critical patient information through exchanging data across organizational boundaries. RHIOs bring physician offices, hospitals and branches of government together for a common goal of providing better care by sharing critical information.

This brief, a product of NASCIO's Health Information Technology Working Group, led by its Chair, Thomas Murray, Chief Information Officer for the state of Vermont, examines the ways in which state CIOs can be involved in RHIO efforts in their states and emphasizes the importance for state CIOs to be aware of developments in health information exchange.

Health information technology initiatives such as RHIOs are increasingly viewed as a viable means of improving quality of care, while reducing healthcare costs that continue to strain state budgets. "State CIOs have an opportunity to help generate real savings for states by becoming involved health IT initiatives such as RHIOs," said Murray. "By gaining a seat at the table early in the process, state CIOs can help shape health information exchange practice and policy from the beginning while acting as an advocate for RHIO efforts."

This brief examines the opportunities and challenges that all RHIOs face, despite the unique characteristics they each hold.  It also highlights federal and state action currently under way in health IT and features real-world examples of how state CIOs are already involved in their state's RHIO efforts.

"NASCIO members recognize that state CIO involvement in health IT is inevitable," said NASCIO Executive Director Doug Robinson. "Since RHIO efforts in states are primarily still in the beginning stages, state CIOs are presented with a unique opportunity to help guide these initiatives from the ground up."