HIE: The Information Sharing Imperative

November 13, 2011
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HIE: The Information Sharing Imperative

Health information exchange is the electronic movement of health related information among organizations according to nationally recognized standards.  Through an organized and standardized process for data exchange, relevant health care information can be made available wherever and whenever it is needed. This not only improves accessibility and outcomes, but also has the potential to reduce errors and health care costs through the reduction of redundant health care services.  By providing the capability to effectively and efficiently move clinical information among disparate health information systems, HIE is a key element to the building of a strong foundation for efforts to improve the US healthcare system.

According to the Health Information Exchange: A Stepping Stone Toward Continuity of Care and Participatory Medicine, HIEs are multi-stakeholder organizations that oversee the business and legal issues involved in the exchange of information. The stakeholders are diverse and generally include large doctor groups, solo practices, competing hospitals, and payers.  HIEs aggregate a patient’s record in a single data file that can be viewed by many primary care physicians, specialists, staff at diverse hospitals, different pharmacists, lab technicians, and therapists who are all a part of the HIE.

With more than 80 hospitals, long-term care facilities, rehabilitation centers, community health clinics, and other health care providers, the Indiana Health Information Exchange is the largest in the nation. Serving more than 10 million patients and 18,000+ physicians, IHIE delivers tools and technologies to address the rising cost of health care.  One such service is a community-based clinical messaging system that electronically delivers test results (laboratory and radiology) and other reports (transcription, admissions, discharges, and transfers) securely and efficiently to physicians through a secure online portal. IHIE also administers Quality Health First, a clinical quality program for health and chronic disease management which combines medical drug claims data and clinical data to provide physicians with reports, alerts, and reminders to help patients manage chronic diseases.

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For healthcare organizations who believe that empowering patients is a strategic imperative, HIEs have the capacity to offer an integrated channel of communications that extends the provider workflow to the patient’s home, reduces costs, enhances quality and enables greater access to care for patients and their families, thereby taking the organization/s to the next level of patient engagement.

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