Health Information Exchange

Leading Fully Certified EMR Software already ready for the Heathcare Information Exchange

With Healthcare Information Exchange (or HIE), your practice will be able to share clinical information with Health Data Exchanges quickly and confidentially. Participating in Health Data Exchanges helps manage risks and keep track of the current community health status, and contributing encourages correct data as well as good control of potential health problems. IMS Link™ interoperability offers your practice an easy way to connect with other hospitals, labs, local/regional/national health repositories, research programs and more.

Health Information Exchange (HIE) refers to the process of reliable and interoperable electronic health-related information sharing conducted in a manner that protects the confidentiality, privacy, and security of the information. The development of widespread HIEs is quickly becoming a reality. Health Information Organizations (HIOs) are the organizations that oversee HIE. For HIOs to function, they must have the capability to employ nationally recognized standards to enable interoperability, security and confidentiality, and to ensure authorization of those who access the information.

The HIE implementation challenge will be to create a standardized interoperable model that is patient centric, trusted, longitudinal, scalable, sustainable, and reliable. HIM principles will be critical to the success of HIEs and the nationwide health information network. HIEs, enabled by technology, are expected to improve the quality of care and patient safety and reduce healthcare costs.

HIM professionals are among the experts stakeholders needed for health information exchange. Healthcare workflow, patient privacy rights, state and federal disclosure laws, secondary data, and data integrity issues (including duplicate patient records) are all part of the HIM professional’s body of knowledge. This knowledge base uniquely positions the HIM professional to navigate the barriers to Health Information Exchange (HIE) and facilitate the definition of key workflows and processes. It also qualifies the HIM professional to assume a leadership role in an HIE.

AHIMA is taking an active role in standards setting efforts for HIE and has convened a Practice Council of Experts appointed by the Board of Directors to provide guidance to the Association concerning HIE. Visit the Advocacy and public policy center health information exchange pages for more information on standards setting activities.

Through development of privacy and security policies regarding methods for accessing the HIE system, provisioning, authorizing, and authenticating users, and auditing access, HIM professionals have the opportunity to engage with colleagues and other stakeholders in defining functional business processes in the various systems sharing health data. These processes should be based on best-practice data quality principles and attributes that result in improved quality of care and patient safety. AHIMA has multiple resources addressing HIE issues to assist with this challenge.

Health information exchange (HIE) is defined as the mobilization of healthcare information electronically across organizations within a region, community or hospital system.

HIE provides the capability to electronically move clinical information among disparate health care information systems while maintaining the meaning of the information being exchanged. The goal of HIE is to facilitate access to and retrieval of clinical data to provide safer and more timely, efficient, effective, and equitable patient-centered care. HIE is also useful to public health authorities to assist in analyses of the health of the population.

HIE systems facilitate the efforts of physicians and clinicians to meet high standards of patient care through electronic participation in a patient’s continuity of care with multiple providers. Secondary health care provider benefits include reduced expenses associated with:

  • The manual printing, scanning and faxing of documents, including paper and ink costs, as well as the maintenance of associated office machinery
  • The physical mailing of patient charts and records, and phone communication to verify delivery of traditional communications, referrals, and test results
  • The time and effort involved in recovering missing patient information, including any duplicate tests required to recover such information

According to an internal study at Sushoo Health Information Exchange, the current method of exchanging patients’ health information accounts for approximately $17,160 of expenses annually for a single-clinician practice.

Formal organizations are now emerging to provide both form and function for health information exchange efforts, both on independent and governmental/regional levels. These organizations are, in many cases, enabled and supported financially by statewide health information exchange grants from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. These grants were legislated into the HITECH components of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act in 2009. The latter organizations (often called Regional Health Information Organizations, or RHIOs) are ordinarily geographically defined entities which develop and manage a set of contractual conventions and terms, arrange for the means of electronic exchange of information, and develop and maintain HIE standards.

In the United States, federal and state regulations regarding HIEs and HIT (health information technology) are still being defined. Federal regulations such as “Meaningful Use” legislation as well as the implementation of some state governments of state-sponsored HIEs (such as the North Carolina HIE) in addition to fluctuating health care regulations among the states are rapidly changing the face of this relatively new industry. HIEs and RHIOs continue to struggle to achieve self-sustainability and the vast majority remain tied to Federal, State, or Independent grant funding in order to remain operational; with some exceptions such as the Indiana HIE.

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