Health information exchange
Health information exchange (HIE) is the mobilization of health care information electronically across organizations within a region, community or hospital system. Participants in data exchange are called in the aggregate Health Information Networks (HIN). In practice, the term HIE may also refer to the health information organization (HIO) that facilitates the exchange.
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HIE provides the capability to electronically move clinical information among different health care information systems. The goal of HIE is to facilitate access to and retrieval of clinical data to provide safer and more timely, efficient, effective, and equitable patient-centered care which may also be useful to public health authorities in analyses of the health of the population.
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. Secondary health care provider benefits include reduced expenses associated with:
- the manual printing, scanning and faxing of documents, including paper and ink costs, as well as the maintenance of associated office machinery
- the physical mailing of patient charts and records, and phone communication to verify delivery of traditional communications, referrals, and test results
- the time and effort involved in recovering missing patient information, including any duplicate tests required to recover such information
According to an internal study at Sushoo Health Information Exchange, the current[when?] method of exchanging patients' health information accounts for approximately $17,160 of expenses annually for a single-clinician practice.
Formal organizations are now[when?] emerging to provide both form and function for health information exchange efforts, both on independent and governmental or regional levels. These organizations are, in many cases, enabled and supported financially by statewide health information exchange grants from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. These grants were legislated into the HITECH components of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The latter organizations (often called Regional Health Information Organizations, or RHIOs) are ordinarily geographically defined entities which develop and manage a set of contractual conventions and terms, arrange for the means of electronic exchange of information, and develop and maintain HIE standards.
In the United States, federal and state regulations regarding HIEs and HIT (health information technology) are still being defined. Federal regulations and incentive programs such as "Meaningful Use", which is formally known as the EHR Incentive Program, are rapidly changing the face of this relatively new industry. In addition to changes driven by federal activities. The lessons learned in the ongoing implementation of some state-sponsored HIEs (such as the North Carolina HIE) and the fluctuating nature of health care regulations at the level of the state governments themselves are leading to additional refinement. However, HIEs and RHIOs continue to struggle to achieve self-sustainability and the vast majority remain tied to federal, state, or independent grant funding in order to remain operational. Some exceptions exist, such as the Indiana HIE.