The Communities of Illinois Health Information Exchange (CIHIE) is a not-for-profit collaborative, created by healthcare providers to help make it easier for patient records to be accessible when and where needed.

For nearly a decade, CIHIE has provided our participating providers with secure access to patient records that are held by other participating healthcare providers and view those records instantly. This has made it easier to take care of patients while they are in the office, rather than having to wait for records to be mailed or faxed.

Timely access to patient records minimizes wait time for treatment, reduces costly duplication of services and supports safer care. We believed this when CIHIE began and we still believe this today.

However, healthcare looks different today than it did when we began in 2009. There are now viable alternatives to exchanging data that did not exist when CIHIE was formed.

Therefore, CIHIE will cease operation of all services on February 8, 2019.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why are services being terminated?

In 2009, as CIHIE was conceptualized around a conference room table, even hospitals located in the same community weren’t sharing records across organizational boundaries. There were many different vendors in the market and not enough uniformity to make electronic exchange possible. Fax, mail and hand-delivery were required to get records from one place to another and many physician practices were still on paper.

Today, these limiting factors are no longer true. Federal investments in policymaking, vendor certifications and incentive funding have shifted the market. Software vendors now recognize the importance of making data more portable and less proprietary.

As CIHIE’s participating organizations have assessed the capabilities that now exist with their own vendors, they are increasingly telling us that their investment in CIHIE is becoming duplicative. Our board has listened to these concerns and believes the responsible action is to cease services so that there is no longer a financial requirement being placed on organizations to support an independent exchange.


2. How does this impact patients?

CIHIE is not a repository for any provider of patient records, so there should be no impact on patient care.


3. Will CIHIE be closing completely?

Our board is currently exploring options. All we can definitively say at this time is that our current services are discontinuing.

4. What will happen to the data?

CIHIE intends to continue operating services as normal pending agreement with various third parties, through February 8, 2019, but we have encouraged our participating healthcare providers to take immediate action to arrange alternative services, as needed. We will be unable to accommodate service extensions.

5. What alternative options are available to providers?

We’ve provided our participants with information about other ways to connect with healthcare exchange services. There may be resources available through their own software vendor, through the state, or through national exchanges.

Questions about this announcement may be directed to CIHIE Executive Director Joy Duling, at jduling@cihie.org.