Those of you who follow my blog know that I presented on establishing a RHIO in Chicago last week at the American College of Healthcare Executives Annual Congress on Leadership. I've been a member of this organization for over 20 years and am board certified by them in healthcare management.
So, I already knew going in that many many of my peers would ask me "What is a RHIO?" and I was not let down! Since these are the people who ultimately "sign the check" I figured it was important to increase their knowledge on the topic.
Now, lets answer the question. My friend Holt Anderson doesn't fully agree with my definition, but he respects my perspective and perhaps one day he will come around to my point of view! :)
The term "RHIO" is only a descriptive of the "vehicle" being used to get us to the final destination -- a Nationwide Health Information Infrastructure. I take the more formal view of a regional health information organization to mean
a connected community with a formal independent organizational and governance structure with systems to ensure accountability and sustainability to support community-wide exchange of health information for the benefit of all stakeholders.
One of the newer terms to emerge is RHIN or regional health information network. I think this term might be a more appropriate description of newer organizations that don't yet have a formal organizational structure. However, you can call your RHIO or RHIN what every you want. In Santa Barbara we have a "Care Data Exchange", in California we have a CalRHIO, and if I search through my lists long enough I'm sure I can find a "network" in the list of RHIO names.