When you are into the healthcare field, you get to know about several healthcare terms that enhance patient care and improve healthcare practices. Electronic Health Information Exchange is a term that shares health information across the organizations within a hospital system.
It allows healthcare experts to like nurses, physicians, doctors, and others to improve the patient’s care quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery. It electronically moves health information within different healthcare systems. HIE aims to facilitate access and to share the clinical data more safely. Furthermore, it facilitates clinicians to meet standards of patient care through participating in the patient’s continuity of care.
According to the study at Sushoo Health Information Exchange, the method that shares the health information spends over $15,160 annually for a single-clinician practice. Electronic data transfer is secured, still the majority of the Americans, medical information is stored on the paper. The medical information is exchanged between providers via mail or fax. HIE cannot replace provider to patient communication; it enhances the other information and patient’s records.
Let us understand how health information exchange is necessary for the healthcare system.
What Do You Understand by Health Information Exchange?
As of now, many healthcare organizations depend on paper records and may be one-to-one interaction. This resulted in uncoordinated health care. Also, with the changes in technology, healthcare organizations are focussing on patient care at a lower cost with enhanced outcomes.
They are targeting the exchange of records and providing seamless interaction with providers. A Health Information Exchange is a technology that allows the delivery of healthcare information to enhance care. It improves patient care by engaging and involving multiple clinicians from across the world. The entire information can be accessed via one community record and thus improves communication.
Data Architecture Models
There are two data architecture models for health information exchange. One is decentralized, and the other is a centralized one. In a centralized model, a central database holds a copy of all records contained in the Health Information Exchange. The data is stored in a single data repository, and users can submit patient data.
In the decentralized or federated model, the healthcare provider is responsible for managing the records of individual patients. The member of the organization here is a participant who shares the information with different members of the organization. Another model that is commonly used is the Hybrid model. It is a mix of centralized and decentralized models. The centralized infrastructure and hybrid model provide health management tools that are deployed in a decentralized system alone. The data can also be extracted from the repository, and data can be added to EHR data.
Here the main function of HIE is to exchange patient records as the need arises. The records are exchanged when healthcare experts need them.
Important Things to Know About Health Information Exchange
1. HIE allows access to clinical information on demand. According to the American Health Information Management Association Report,
“A successful HIE depends on trust between the patient, the healthcare provider, and the HIE. In order to build trust, HIEs must develop and implement policies and procedures guiding their operations, including how they will maintain and secure protected health information."
2. ONC identifies three types of Health Information Exchange. It recognizes query-based exchange, consumer mediated exchange, and directed exchange. The directed exchange allows the exchange of information between care providers and supports coordinated care. The query-based exchange has the ability for providers to request information from other providers. It is majorly used for unplanned care.
3. In 2010, as a part of the HITECH Act, the ONC (Office of the National Coordinator for the Health Information Technology) awarded funds to 56 states and qualified State Designated Entities as a part of the HIE Cooperative Agreement Program. Awardees were responsible for improving connectivity and allowing patient-centric information flow to improve the efficiency of care.
4. In 2011, around $16 million was made to states through the ONC’s Challenge Grants program. It provided funding to states to breakthrough innovations for HIE and to support interoperability.
5. In 2014, the ONC and the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center conducted visits and discussed check-ins with providers to determine their experience with HIEs.
6. Certain states like Texas approved the legislation that supports HIE. It allows health-related information to share health data securely and as per the national standards. Furthermore, it transmits information through HIE to public agencies.
7. The Status of HIEs: 50 state comparison is a project of George Washington University’s Health Law and Policy program in Washington. The website features an interactive map of the US and shows the health information exchanges state-by-state.
Benefits of Health Exchange Information
Over the years, with technological advancements, the quality of patient care is increasing day by day. The data shared through HIEs don’t depend on the technical aspects but also on the policies that share data. Look at a few HIEs benefits that it provides to the healthcare industry.
1. Reduces Errors
It ensures the patient’s safety by minimizing medication errors. The data is stored safely in the database and is exchanged through a digital channel. This way, the data is secured, and it also minimizes the errors. Furthermore, it boosts patient care through real-time connectivity.
2. Smarter Health Monitoring Management
The data exchanging process between the providers go smoothly through smart health monitoring. It improves patient satisfaction and enhances provider experience. Furthermore, it eliminates unnecessary testing and paperwork. Thus, it improves quality and healthcare results.
3. Engages Healthcare Consumers
It reduces healthcare-related costs as it provides the information digitally.
It creates a loop for feedback between health-related practice and research. It facilitates the efficient deployment of healthcare services.
4. It is Supporting Tool
It is an excellent supporting tool for healthcare providers and offers clinical decision support for effective care. It is a key part and ensures that healthcare experts receive the data when needed. It provides caregivers the supporting tools for better treatment.
5. It is Beneficial for Provider, Patients, and Government in Many Ways
For patients, it improves payment coordination, transitions of care, and satisfaction. For them, it reduces the elimination of unnecessary procedures and delivers better outcomes.
For providers, it reduces costs and gives them access to clinical data. It improves disease management and patient movement.
For the government, it improves the understanding of clinical information for patients. Also, it gives them timely access to population health data. It supports programs to improve the health of residents.
Challenges in Health Information Exchange
It ensures that data is stored safely. However, organizations have to follow certain standards and federal regulations to provide data security. It offers benefits to the healthcare industry but also has several limitations.
1. Lack of Clarity on Variations
Sometimes exchanging the information in other states can be challenging, as different states have different policies and regulations. Providers might find it difficult to follow state laws when sharing health information.
2. Contains Summary Document and Higher Cost of Health Information
It contains a summary document that is referred to as a continuity of care document. It misses some of the important information about the patient’s health that might be needed to improve and share the correct treatment. The cost of HIE involves implementation and purchasing costs. It also includes transaction fees for sharing information.
3. High Competition
Every year, the competition among HIE is increasing. Several organizations are competing for the patient’s information. According to Harvard Business School, exchanging health information is the most difficult task among healthcare representatives.
Every healthcare information is now focussing on developing a better safe infrastructure for HIE. In the US, over 100 regional HIEs are there.
Also, several healthcare organizations are joining different HIEs to collect information on patients. HIE is playing a crucial role in the healthcare system by boosting interoperability.