What is a Health Information Exchange?
To give an exact description on HIE would be to say that it is, the mobilization of healthcare information electronically across organizations within a reason, community or hospital system.
In simple terms, HIE allows patients and healthcare professionals to securely access and share the patient's medical information electronically.
How does HIE benefit an individual?
• It allows access to share a patient's indispensable medical history no matter what type of care of treatment they are receiving.
• It provides a safer and more effective way to care for the patient's unique needs.
Below are steps on building a successful HIE:
1. Weigh the readiness.
Not all types of practices would be ready to join the HIE. To determine whether a practice is ready quite a challenge but with the help of the NRHR toolkit basic information on what to consider when evaluating HIE options.
2. Form a viable entity and with the right technology.
The goal is to network among employed physicians. As interest in pay-for-performance reporting and PCMH has evolved, they should look to expand their HIE with both affiliated and independent physicians.
Once you have determined the kind of clinical information that is to be exchanged the ability of the connected systems to exchange the data and the workflow needs your care providers. Use the technology that you have available to do what is realistic.
3. Implement the Direct Project approach.
This project was developed so as to set standards and protocols to support secure communications across organizations. Its messaging applications are like that of email applications but have encrypted messages so as to ensure the safety of the communication.
The Direct Project approach, however, will require the user to know the recipient's address as most applications do not include a system for searching and finding patient records or contacts. Its benefits nonetheless outweigh the limitations as the Direct Project supports nationwide communication, secure encryption, attachments, cost-effective information exchange and simple implementation.
4. Evolve with the changing landscape.
In this fast-moving world, nothing remains the same for too long, which is why with the evolving dataflow, workflow requirements and integration one must also adapt and adjust the current plan. Enhancement of the exchange to support new users, increased functionality and more data sources will be required.
5. Keep a constant check on patient's privacy and security.
The patients need to feel confident that their private information is secure and complete, and up to date as well and is always available to them. Decisions need to be made on participant opt-in and opt-out options, treatment of sensitive data, access to data for personal health records, potential review, and correction.
The National Rural Health Resource Center offers an HIE readiness self-assessment to help an organization consider if it is ready to adopt HIE and identify the necessary operational, financial and technical considerations to build a sustainable private HIE. Having a secure HIE will benefit in ways such as improvement of care transitions, increase in the number of referring physicians, decrease in readmissions and administrative costs, and boosting revenue from enhanced billings and collections.