Health information exchanges have yet to become the darlings of most hospitals and medical practices, but despite their frosty reception, two recent studies suggest you can launch and maintain a viable HIE. These health data sharing organizations will undoubtedly play an important role as the HITECH Act's Meaningful Use programs continue to take shape. So it's time to take a closer look at lessons learned from such success stories. A new report released this week by the National eHealth Collaborative, a public-private cooperative funded by the Office of National Coordinator for Health IT, outlined some of the "secrets" uncovered by 12 successful HIEs. Many HIEs can learn from these lessons--especially considering that there are at least 255 HIEs in the U.S. right now, a 9% increase from 234 HIEs last year, and up significantly from only a few dozen in 2004, according to the eHealth Initiative, another coalition that studies HIEs and which recently completed its own annual report.