Submission Type

Comparative Case Study


Learning Health System, Data Reuse, Health Information Technology, Quality Improvement


As health care providers adopt and make “meaningful use” of health information technology (health IT), communities and delivery systems must set up the infrastructure to facilitate health information exchange (HIE) between providers and numerous other stakeholders who have a role in supporting health and care. By facilitating better communication and coordination between providers, HIE has the potential to improve clinical decision-making and continuity of care, while reducing unnecessary use of services. When implemented as part of a broader strategy for health care delivery system and payment reform, HIE capability also can enable the use of analytic tools needed for population health management, patient engagement in care, and continuous learning and improvement. The diverse experiences of seven communities that participated in the three-year federal Beacon Community Program offer practical insight into factors influencing the technical architecture of exchange infrastructure and its role in supporting improved care, reduced cost, and a healthier population. The case studies also document challenges faced by the communities, such as significant time and resources required to harmonize variations in the interpretation of data standards. Findings indicate that their progress developing community-based HIE strategies, while driven by local needs and objectives, is also influenced by broader legal, policy, and market conditions.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.