Public Policy Center, University of Nebraska


Date of this Version



Published by the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center, (2009), 1-20


This project laid the groundwork for the formation of a health information exchange within an established network of critical access hospitals, clinics, public health providers, and behavioral health providers across the rural, remote Nebraska Panhandle. The three goals were: (1) to develop an operational entity and incorporate a regional health information organization to support the development of a health information exchange; (2) to provide standardized training and user capacity development programs throughout the Panhandle; and (3) to implement electronic health records in critical access hospitals and rural health clinics through a shared process. The evaluation explored both the extent to which the objectives were obtained, and the outcomes:

-An operational entity was established (Goal 1). The Rural Nebraska Healthcare Network formed the Western Nebraska Health Information Exchange, LLC as the operational entity and the Managers are responsible for all implementation and operation activities.

-Standardized training and user capacity development programs were delivered to hundreds of Panhandle participants live, and over Nebraska’s telehealth network (Goal 2).

-Progress was made toward implementing electronic health records (Goal 3). A
vendor was selected and, at the grant’s conclusion, the Managers were negotiating contract terms and identifying funding for the implementation costs.

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