History of the Health Collaborative



History of The Health Collaborative

The journey of The Health Collaborative (THC) began in 1957 when 15 visionary hospitals joined forces to provide unparalleled hospital care and service to the community. Operating as a non-profit organization, The Greater Cincinnati Hospital Council served as a dynamic forum where healthcare leaders collaborated, creating a robust healthcare community. Over time, it expanded its reach to encompass 30+ hospitals and over 100 long-term care, home health, and other healthcare providers in Southwestern Ohio, Northern Kentucky, and Southeastern Indiana.


Health Improvement Collaborative of Greater Cincinnati

In 1992, the Health Improvement Collaborative of Greater Cincinnati (the Collaborative) was established to convene multiple stakeholders in health and healthcare including health systems, health plans, employers, and consumers and emerged as an incubator for innovation, dedicated to fostering a healthier community. Initially focused on direct-service public health projects, the Collaborative evolved into a catalyst for regional healthcare transformation to address widespread structural health-related problems in Greater-Cincinnati.



In January 1997, seven prominent healthcare organizations, including Anthem, Cincinnati Children’s, ChoiceCare (Now Humana), Franciscans, Health Alliance, Mercy, and TriHealth, invested $250,000 to launch HealthBridge, the first Health Information Exchange (HIE) in the United States. Since then, HealthBridge has been a trailblazer, connecting over 70 hospitals and 22 health systems. Its Hb/suite services facilitated the exchange of over 15 million clinical results monthly, linking hospitals, labs, physicians, insurance companies, and non-profits. HealthBridge’s impact extended nationally, contributing to the formation of the Strategic Health Information Exchanges Collaborative and aiding in creating HIEs in Indiana and Idaho. HealthBridge was one of the first HIEs to receive HITRUST certification in 2017. 


Framework of Collaboration

In 2007, the Collaborative was tapped by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to pilot its ambitious Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) initiative in Cincinnati. In further recognition of its central role in regional health systems improvement, the greater Cincinnati community was awarded a Beacon Community Cooperative Agreement Program grant. HealthBridge was the lead grantee. Also at the cutting edge, in 2009, the Collaborative launched a patient-centered medical home pilot. The Collaborative’s previous work on public reporting with payers, hospitals and affiliated physician groups laid the foundation for the development of the pilot. 


The Birth of The Health Collaborative

In 2015, a historic merger unfolded, uniting the visions of The Greater Cincinnati Hospital Council, the Health Improvement Collaborative of Greater Cincinnati, and HealthBridge. This union resulted in the birth of The Health Collaborative. THC became our region’s only organization that convenes all the health systems and healthcare stakeholders with a mission to lead data-driven healthcare improvement and innovation.


The Regional Learning Network

As part of the Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+) initiative, THC managed the Regional Learning Network, served as a regional claims data aggregator, and convened regional payers. This substantial effort, involving over 550 primary care practices and 11 payers, brought $190M to primary care practices and hospital systems in Ohio and Northern Kentucky. THC supported practice transformation through more than 3,000 learning events and held multiple contracts with CMS, Ohio Medicaid, managed Medicaid, and commercial plans.


Test and Protect (TaP)

Amidst the challenges posed by COVID-19, THC spearheaded the Test and Protect (TaP) initiative in 2020. Collaborating with Hamilton County, TaP developed and executed a comprehensive, no-cost, equitable testing approach for county residents and employees. Leveraging a robust clinical and claims data warehouse, THC provided real-time reporting of COVID-19 tests to Hamilton County Public Health, addressing disparities in testing access. Partnering with United Way, THC facilitated SDoH screenings during testing, orchestrating referrals to community resources. In collaboration with UC Health and community-based organizations, THC facilitated over 60,000 no-cost COVID-19 tests at 1,200 community locations, turning TaP into a household name and a vital resource in southwest Ohio.


Strategic Shift for Greater Impact

At the close of 2023, The Health Collaborative discontinued its Health Information Exchange (HIE) services allowing for the creation of a statewide HIE that maximizes efficiency. In taking this bold step forward, the commitment to members was intensified as The Health Collaborative continues to lead community health needs assessments, expand and diversify the healthcare workforce, support innovations in care, and coordinate regional disaster preparedness and response.


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