The Health information exchange or also known as HIE is the sending of healthcare-related data electronically to facilities, health information organizations and government agencies according to national standards. The goal is to be able to access and retrieve data more efficient, safer, and to improve the quality of care and patient safety and reduce healthcare costs.
The Health Information Exchange has existed for over two decades. In the 1990s there were attempts to organize networks. It began in 2006 by Governor Sonny Perdue. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services is responsible for setting the standards for national health information exchange. The Health information exchange was created so that health care providers could use it to improve health care. Health care professionals are able to access your information, such as in an emergency situation, this way they can make informed decisions about your emergency faster. Also, your files are stored safely just in case your area is hit by national disaster.
There are several benefits of the system. It helps to assist patients from receiving prescription medications to which they may be allergic. The HIE helps reduce medical errors. Health care providers are able to give you the care you need and it won’t interact with your other treatments. Because health care providers can see what tests you have had and the results, they don’t always have to repeat them. When your health information is shared electronically, information about access to your record is stored electronically.
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This helps to know who accesses your information, when, what and why. This helps the medical staff to check your records faster. Having faster access to your records helps healthcare providers find the information needed to diagnose health problems earlier, which gives them a more complete picture of your overall health. This leaves less room for error, more time with the patient. Not only are there the good benefits of the HIE, but there are the risks that come with it. Let’s start one a well-known problem, Identity theft. More people are also able to break into records and steal information, for example hackers.
There are more known errors to occur. If your health care provider does not enter the correct information, the information remains in the health record until it is corrected.
Then there are also the concerns of privacy issues. This is when HIPPA comes into effect. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) regulates the privacy of health information exchange. The HIPPA reduces health care fraud and abuse. It protects the privacy of all individual’s health information. The HIE has privacy and security concerns. There is a privacy rule that all employees and health care providers should abide by. If you see a medical record in view where patients or others can see it, cover the file, or turn it over. When speaking about patients, try to prevent others from overhearing the conversation. Conversations about patients should be held in a private area. Do not discuss patients while you are in public areas. When medical records are not in use, they should be put away. Never remove the patient’s official medical record from your office. You should not leave records out where your family members or others may see it. If any copies are made and not used they should be shredded.
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Privacy policies can be particularly hard for an HIE to deal with .There are efforts such as the government’s Connect project that provide guidelines for securing HIEs. Privacy laws vary from state to state giving complications for cross-state HIEs. The HITECH Act, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, has increased the penalties healthcare providers face if their systems are breached. There is a HIPAA privacy rule that provides federal floor of protection.
One of the main challenges that HIE face is getting data to doctors and other clinicians. It is normally delivered directly to a providers’ EMR system, however with limited EMR use across the country, HIEs have had to provide alternative delivery methods. If an EMR isn’t compatible or if doctors don’t have systems, they can use a Web portal to see data. The problem with portals is that they force doctors to take an extra step to view data. Due to this doctors often end up using the HIE less as a result, and some provider groups decide the exchange isn’t worth the investment if their clinicians aren’t using it.
With all the concerns about HIE, there are still more pros then cons. It benefits healthcare providers by reducing their operational costs. The system supports the retrieval of and access to clinical data. HIEs can improve payers’ ability to manage outcomes and reduce medical costs and increases accuracy of the information.
www.health.ny.gov/…health_information…/health_information_exch www.informationweek.com/healthcare/…/health-information-exchan www.myphr.com/healthliteracy/health_information_exchange.aspx www.himss.org/Asp/topics_News_item.asp?cid=67543&tid=33