Professional Development for Healthcare Professions Blog

Monday Technology Tip- What is a RHIO?

Posted by Chad Sines on Mon, Apr 02, 2012 @ 01:38 PM

RHIOPerhaps you have not heard this term before, but hopefully you have. A RHIO (regional health information organization) is an organization that has many stakeholders who share a common interest in seeing that healthcare information is exchanged quickly and effectively. They are engaged in health information exchange (HIE). The goal is for information to come from one facility, go to the RHIO, and then be available to another facility that most likely is using a completely different system that the original facility. The information needs to come through in a way that is meaningful and useful. 

Here is a basic visual representation of a RHIO and how it works.


There are three types of setups, the centralized, federated, and the hybrid. 
  • Centralized: Data is sent to a central collector of information on a regular basis. The data remains uniform and allows  for greatest interoperability. The downside is that scalability becomes a problem. The system is also more complex and more prone to becoming a data ownership. 
  • Federated (Record Locator Service) allows for fast retrieval of data. Instead of store the data, the system tells the user where it can get the data. Since the data is only pointed to and not stored, there are no ownership issues. There are significant issues with a lack of standardization, availability of the data, and how to maintain authorized access. 
  • The hybrid system seeks to bridge the two. Still in its infancy, the hybrid stores the data but the patient has the choice of who is to be storing the data. A record locator ability will direct to this data. 
So the big takeaway is that a RHIO is an organization that is meant to allow an efficient exchange of health information in a way that is meaningful and useful.  

Topics: Technology Tip