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To support a successful CIE, several key investments and considerations must be addressed:

  1. Equitable Empowerment of Partners: Ensuring that all partners, especially community-based organizations, are on equal footing in terms of systems and data management is crucial. This requires providing strong supports and operating tools from top to bottom within the network.

  2. Unified Platform and Local Management: A core principle of CIEs is having a unified platform across all health and human services organizations to support data sharing, coordination, and interoperability. Equally important is the need for the system to be locally owned and managed, avoiding centralized control by a single organization or platform.

  3. Focus on Human Impact Enabled by Technology: Technology should be viewed as an enabler, not the end goal. The success of a CIE is built on strong relationships between partners and the individuals they serve, which sometimes requires unique engagement at a variety of touch points to strengthen these connections.

  4. Overcoming Structural and Capability Gaps: Not all CIE participants are ready to support interoperability and integration. Addressing structural and capability gaps is essential for connecting existing systems and ensuring all community-based partners can participate effectively.

  5. Respecting Data Sovereignty and managing consent: In many cases (including Tribal Health and Support entities) – we will need to integrate a privacy framework that respects tribal data sovereignty, additionally all partners must have the ability to manage and share consent data

Investing in these areas will help create a robust and effective CIE that supports enhanced care management, community supports, integrated behavioral health, and broader population health initiatives. Policymakers increasingly recognize the need for interoperable clinical and social data ecosystems to support cross-sector collaboration and deliver better health outcomes for all community members – but this starts with the least sophisticated of the services partners who frequently engage with those most in need.

A successful Community Information Exchange requires thoughtful investments in technology, equitable partner empowerment, and a focus on building strong, locally managed systems. By addressing these challenges, we can create a CIE that truly supports the needs of our most vulnerable populations and builds stronger, healthier communities.

Building Community Information Exchanges:

Requires standards and centralized infrastructure, AND rethinking digital data, coordination, and communication on the front lines

Creating a successful Community Information Exchange (CIE) requires a holistic approach that goes beyond mere integration, data sharing and agreeing upon governance.


Most people are familiar with Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) – constructs supporting aggregation and transmission of healthcare data for a given group or region. CIE’s take that concept and extend it much further – HIE data can form a foundation, but CIEs expand the data types (social services and care) and expectations around care coordination across organizations.

Unfortunately, HIE’s are typically “read only” – critically CIEs need to be “read and write”  so that information can be collected, shared, and acted upon by all the stakeholders in the ecosystem, from community based organizations to payors.

It demands an investment in empowering all participating partners equally and developing advanced care coordination technology tailored to the needs of vulnerable populations.

Most often, these vulnerable populations include individuals experiencing homelessness, those with serious mental illness, and others who have historically been underserved by our healthcare system.

The goal of a CIE is to create an ecosystem of multidisciplinary network partners using a shared language, resource database, and integrated technology platform to enhance community care planning. By leveraging these core components, communities can transition from a reactive approach to care to a proactive, holistic, and person-centered model. This shift is crucial in providing better quality care and access to essential services.

There is a significant risk that CIE strategies may not intentionally integrate and support participating partners, leading to failures in addressing the specific needs of these communities. Therefore, building operations and infrastructure with a bottom-up perspective is vital to avoid such pitfalls.

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