One of the greatest benefits of health information
technology (HIT) and electronic health records (EHRs) is the ability to securely
access and share patient information at the point of care.
Ideally, all members of a health care team – physicians,
hospitals, labs – should be able to use HIT and EHRs to share patient
information through a secure network, a process called interoperability.
Health Information Exchange (HIE) can be accomplished in
different ways, and the needs and requirements vary by practice.
While there are numerous ways to accomplish HIE, below are four
types of HIE that are currently in use:
- Direct is a technical
standard for securely exchanging health information between health care
entities such as physicians, hospitals, and labs in a trusted network. Direct functions like regular email but with
HIPAA security measures in place that ensure the person receiving the message
is the intended recipient. Direct addresses are available from a variety of
sources, including EHR vendors, public and private HIEs, and private service
providers offering Direct exchange capabilities called Health Information
Service Providers (HISPs).
- Public HIEs are
available around Texas, covering different regions of the state. The public HIEs
can provide information about patients at the point of care. Some of the
information includes lab results, medications, hospitalizations, and radiology
reports. Each HIE is developing various services according to the needs of its
specific region. Reach out to the HIE in your region to find out what services it
offers and to learn details about participation, including cost.
- Private HIEs are
typically operated by a hospital or health system, which controls funding,
governance, and who can participate. The private HIEs offer similar patient
information to public HIEs, but the data likely will be limited to the
organization’s contributing sources. If you are affiliated with a health
system, inquire about HIE opportunities.
- HIT vendor interoperability can
occur through organizations such as CommonWell Health
Alliance and Carequality.
These organizations focus on providing a cross-vendor interoperability
infrastructure that is patient-centered. Physicians who are interested in this
option can ask their EHR vendor whether the vendor participates in or belongs
to either of those organizations.
If your practice is still
struggling with interoperability, TMA’s HIT department can help answer your
questions and direct you to helpful resources.
For more information, contact TMA's HIT Department by
telephone at (800) 880-5720 or by email, or visit TMA’s online HIE resource center.
Last Updated On
June 09, 2020
Originally Published On
November 13, 2018