Health information exchanges can improve patient care
ONC considers the secure sharing of information among health care professionals through HIEs essential to using EMRs in a “meaningful” way, and it is a requirement to qualify for the meaningful use” financial incentives. An EMR system is a computerized system of accessing in real time a patient’s history within a single practice. An EMR’s content is analogous to the paper record, but the electronic format creates usable data, improves the efficiency of care, and allows more efficient communication among physicians and easier management of health plans.
Vital Connections: HIEs Improve Patient Care (Texas Medicine, Oct. 2012)
Health Information Exchange Comes to Texas (e-tips, Mar. 16, 2012)
HIEs Active in Texas (Action, Mar.1, 2012)
Seventeen Texas HIEs Receive Grants (Action, May 2, 2011)
Texas HIEs - (HIEs funded by the ONC - does not include ALL Texas HIEs)
Health Information Exchange Activity Map
What information will be shared via the HIE? Some HIEs will share only laboratory data, while others will allow access to discharge summaries, notes, test results, and more.
How will physicians be able to determine the source, date, and time of the data? Answers to these questions will help physicians reconcile contradictory information they may encounter, such as a “penicillin allergy” for a patient pulled from one electronic medical record but “no known allergies” pulled from another.
What privacy and security mechanisms does the HIE feature? Physicians should learn the HIE’s policies and procedures on how they’ll obtain patient consent for using the data. If a patient chooses to exclude some data from being shared, the physician should make sure the HIE discloses that fact.
Does the HIE include the patient populations, referral networks, and the hospitals and other physicians the doctor works with? Make certain the HIEs connect to the local hospitals, labs, radiology services, and other facilities. Taking part in an HIE with limited connections could leave doctors having to make decisions based on partial information.
Will the HIE be financially viable in the future? It’s not simple to move from one HIE to another. Physicians should ensure the HIE has a thorough business plan with strategies for long-term success and staying power. If the HIE has been in existence for a while, physicians should ask their colleagues about the exchange’s track record and functionality.
Is there a fee to participate? Many HIEs will be free initially, but physicians should ask whether potential future fees have been addressed.
Who is on the HIE board of directors? HIE governance should represent health care stakeholders in the community.
What are the computer system requirements to connect to the HIE?
Does the HIE use a centralized or decentralized model? Physicians participating in exchanges that use a centralized model obtain a patient’s permission to have their records and information stored in a database. Physicians and other health care professionals can query the database for patient information and share it with others. In a decentralized model, the physician stores patient information and permits access by authorized personnel and entities.
Are there opportunities to provide feedback on HIE operations? Physicians should inquire about their ability to attend HIE meetings and to weigh in on the system’s functionality.
TMA Offers EHR Interoperability Tips
(Action, May 1, 2013)
TMA Letter to ONC RE: RFI --
Advancing Interoperability and Health Information Exchange (Apr. 22,
Information Exchange Comes to Texas (e-tips, Mar. 16, 2012)
HIEs Active in
Texas (Action, Mar.1, 2012)
Information Exchanges Can Improve Patient Care (Texas
Medicine, Feb. 2011)
Necessary for Meaningful Use (Action, July 19, 2011)
HIEs Receive Grants (Action, May 2, 2011)
HIEs Seek Physician Commitments (Action, Jan. 4, 2011)
Texas Health Services Authority
Texas Health and Human Services Commission – Statewide Health Information Exchange
Health Information Exchange in Texas: Current Status and Future Potential – eHealth Initiative