A Sustainable Business Model for Health Information Exchange Platforms: The Solution to Interoperability in Health Care IT

A hospital viewed from street level

In an effort to reduce costs and increase quality of service, the government has provided over $26 billion in economic incentives to promote the adoption of health information exchange (HIE) platforms among medical providers. The full implementation of electronic health records is estimated to save consumers and providers over $77 billion per year. However, medical providers must overcome barriers to interoperability that have prevented widespread adoption.

In his latest paper, Niam Yaraghi challenges the idea that interoperability issues have kept doctors and medical providers from embracing HIE. Rather, Yaraghi argues it’s economic disincentives that are at fault, resulting in medical providers being less inclined to engage in HIE even as interoperability issues are resolved.

To address the interoperability problem, Yaraghi proposes a business model in which economic incentives of different entities in the health care market would lead them to actively engage in exchanging heath information. In the paper, Yaraghi outlines a business environment in which health information exchange platforms can generate substantial revenue from two sources: (1) real-time data services to different health care providers and (2) asynchronous data analytics and customized reports. The revenue generated from these sources would be used to finance the operational costs of an interoperable heath information network.


The unique feature of the proposed model, Yaraghi writes, is its self-sufficiency. To be able to operate in such a business model, the HIE platforms will furthermore not depend on federal and state financial support.