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An Overview of RHIOs and CHINs

written by: MandaSpring • edited by: Anurag Ghosh • updated: 12/9/2008

With all of these initials for new health care technology projects it is hard to keep them all straight. RHIOs and CHINs are essential to the IT database. Find out what they are and what their function is.

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    In the Information Age, medical care is moving forward much as every other aspect of modern life is doing. President Bush has been committed to the development and stabilization of Information Technology (IT), especially when it comes to patient care. The need for solid infrastructure and a cohesive data base that would service the whole country has been obvious for a long time. Combining information from different sources into a clear and concise IT data base is the only way to make it work.

    What are RHIOs?

    RHIO stands for Regional Health Information Organizations. These are comprised of a large number of health care groups, from county health offices to doctor’s offices to emergency rooms. The regional information is isolated in its own data base, containing only the information that is locally (or regionally) available. For people who spend their whole lives in the same town or county, it isn’t a problem. All their information is readily available through their own RHIO. But these days, people travel. They move for jobs and schools and their medical records can be widely scattered through many different RHIOs.

    What are CHINs?

    CHIN stands for Community Health Information Network. CHINs are like RHIOs in that they cover a small area and are not connected to the wider scope of a national data base. They have the collected information on the local hospitals and doctors and health offices that deal with the residents of their particular community.

    How CHINs and RHIOs work?

    CHINs and RHIOs have their information separate data bases which are not connected to each other. They each operate on a small scale and do not have interoperability. With care providers not being connected to a common data base and people traveling as well as moving around the country, gathering the necessary information about a particular patient can be all but impossible. Co-ordination is necessary for the most effective results.

    CHINs and RHIOs Overview

    Technology is making great strides when it comes to medicine and information. What is needed is a new method of storing all the information in one place so that it is readily accessible, especially in emergency cases. For patients to be involved in their own medical decisions, they need information and the ability to share it with medical professionals. Since CHIN and RHIO have not been as successful as they might have, there needs to be another method of storing information for the future.


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