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Health information organizations (HIO) are U.S. government-led non-profit health organizations that provide information about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 as it pertains to electronic health records (EHRs) development for incentive payments. These organizations focus on the importance of and instruction for interoperability and the exchange of EHRs among medical facilities as per the ARRA. HIOs can function at the federal, state and local level.
Health information organizations can, to a certain degree, serve as a replacement for private EHR vendors because they are essentially a free source of information for medical facilities working toward electronic record-keeping. The main purpose of an HIO, however, is to assist in the interoperability of EHRs as deemed necessary for meaningful use information exchanges. HIOs are able to guide eligible providers in their developmental steps in EHR production and educate them on what ARRA and other organizations and laws dictate.
Should an HIO assist a medical organization or private practice in this way, the organization must enter into an agreement as a business associate, much like they would if they were a private vendor. Automated record models within HIOs include EHR birth records, hearing screenings, newborn screenings and immunization and communicable disease reporting, all of which are considered public health records in that public health organizations require the reporting of some related statistical information. IT outsourcing professionals and vendors commonly use these models to design EHRs and databases for their health care customers.