Electronic exchange of clinical information permits doctors, nurses, pharmacists, other health care providers, and patients to retrieve and securely share a patient’s vital medical information electronically—improving the speed, quality, safety, coordination, and cost of patient care. Participants in data exchange are called in the aggregate Health Information Networks (HIN). 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.
The demand for electronic health information exchange among care professionals is growing along with nationwide efforts to improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of health care delivery. Meaningful use requirements, new payment approaches that stress care coordination, and federal financial incentives are all driving the interest and demand for health information exchange.
We require HIE to improve quality care by reducing medical errors, eliminating unnecessary paperwork, redundant or unnecessary testing, and improving public health and monitoring. It also helps in providing caregivers with clinical decision support tools for quality care and treatment. HIE currently supports three forms of exchange direct exchange, Query based exchanger, and Consumer Mediated Exchange.
People today are a mobile society. For example, you may need to travel to various locations across the country. Therefore, at any of these temporary or extended stays, an illness or accident could require a visit to a new provider. In order to facilitate quality care, easy access to a patient’s medical history is needed, HIE provides the ability to share the data.
Health information exchange and interoperability
The systems and devices exchange data and interpret the shared data through interoperability. For two systems to be interoperable must be able to exchange data so a user understands the data. The most common concept of interoperability is functional, semantic, and structural interoperability. Semantic being in demand supports the electronic exchange of patient summary among caregivers and other authorized parties via potentially disconnected EHR systems and other systems to improve quality, safety, efficacy, and efficiency of healthcare delivery. It works under standards established by the government and industry for better communication between disparate systems.
Data exchanges in the US must operate with patient consent to comply with not only the HIPAA but a variety of state and federal laws and regulations. There are multiple ways to be part of HIE which include vendor integration, local network, Regional HIE, Statewide HIE, etc.
Impact on healthcare
HIE can be considered as a superior potential for healthcare information systems, resulting to promote patient care quality and reduce costs related to resource utilization. However, further researches are needed in order to provide a better understanding of this domain and accordingly attain new opportunities.
The needs and requirements for health information exchange differ from practice to practice, and the solutions available differ from state to state. While several options may be available, there are specific questions physicians should be asking to determine what solution is best for them.
At smartData, the healthcare domain is involved in developing solutions that use HIE to transfer and retrieve patient information with the latest technology.