Perhaps you’ve heard the term before. Perhaps not. RHIO (ree-yo) stands for Regional Health Information Organization and is a way for multiple providers and health care organizations to share data in a common way. The goal is to facilitate rapid and standardized exchange of patient information. Our office joined the Rochester RHIO which gives us access to the hospitals, laboratories and radiology centers in a 13 county region.
From the first day, our patients noticed the benefit. We were able to quickly obtain lab results that were ordered by another doctor, get imaging results from years back and check on the discharge instructions from a recent emergency department visit. All with minimal interruption to our office workflow. All of these things were obtainable in the past but each required a separate phone call from a staff member and, when a patient couldn’t recall exactly which lab or center performed their test, often multiple calls were needed.
It is easy to see that RHIOs should help in reduction of test duplication, decrease staff hours in tracking down results and providing patients safer care but transferring allergies and medical history to each provider. The organization in the Rochester area has no cost to providers (including chiropractors) but your mileage may vary.
It’s not without it’s weaknesses. Currently, the Rochester RHIO doesn’t have accurate patient insurance information and individual providers cannot upload data. So, if we write a report for a patient from our chiropractic office and discuss the treatments we delivered for a herniated disc, for example, there is no way for us as an individual provider to submit that to the system. Yet. For the moment, we are consumers of the data and not producers. This is a weakness but I imagine it won’t be for long.
If you are a medical doctor or chiropractor in the Rochester, NY area, I strongly urge you to contact our local RHIO (http://www.grrhio.org/) and if you are a practitioner in another part of New York State, you can check this clickable map to see if there is a RHIO you can join in your region: http://www.health.ny.gov/technology/projects/regions/
Wondering if there is a RHIO in your state? Check with the local hospital’s IT or HIM (Health Information Management) department. They should know if there is a current network or one in the planning stages. The transfer of health information across multiple organizations is one of the most important aspects of healthcare and one that benefits providers, patients, hospitals and the communities.