The board of Health Information Partnership of Tennessee, the three-year-old nonprofit formed to coordinate the development of a system to let Tennessee providers share patients' information, last month voted to wind down the group's operations.
The move appears to have been encouraged by the administration of Gov. Bill Haslam. In a short statement Monday afternoon, HIP TN Chairman Reginald Coopwood said his body voted June 15 to dissolve the group "after meeting with state officials."
“Given the evolution of HIE across the country, HIP TN’s board of directors decided the best step was to allow the state to operate from a clean slate,” Coopwood said. “We hope the work conducted thus far has been valuable and will provide insight if others plan to implement state-wide HIE in the future [...] The board’s vision for a health information exchange network in Tennessee remains, and we hope that vision can be realized down the road.”
HIP TN officials issued their formal statement hours after trade publication Modern Healthcare broke the story that HIP TN is entering its final days. In that piece (subscription needed), Will Rice, executive director of the state's Office of eHealth Initiatives, said his team will — instead of building a statewide exchange — focus on promoting the adoption of the so-called Direct communication system between providers so that they can meet federal meaningful-use standards that will put them in line for incentive payments.
"I think sustainability for HIE services has always been an Achilles' heel for those organizations," said Rice, adding that the HIP TN board approved the closure, feeling statewide exchange "was ahead of the game and somewhat premature."
"With a shift in strategy to meet the demands of meaningful use, while the state is not abandoning its effort of statewide HIE capacity, that's a longer-term horizon than what's needed to meet meaningful use," Rice said.