Health Information Exchange (HIE)
Health Information Exchange (HIE) is the sharing of patient’s healthcare information electronically across different organizations within a community, a region or hospital system. In simple words, it refers to the safe and secure transfer of information and updations of a patient’s health status in order to improve the speed, safety, quality and cost of patient’s healthcare. Conventionally done on a paper, the task can get tedious and difficult to maintain, therefore to ameliorate that issue, digitally storing the information makes it a very easy process and saves ample amount of time.
Usually, the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, health care providers and the patients can access and transfer the medical records. But HIE system permits the exchange not only between two organizations or within a community and region but also between two hospital systems.
The term definition is not restricted to process but also a system or set-up which achieves the exchange of records successfully.
Benefits of Health Information Exchange
The major reason behind promoting the usage of this process is:-
- Increased cost: Due to the unstable nature of records, i.e. constant updating, the re-printing or faxing the modified data and storing has become very expensive and thus, a cost-efficient solution was required.
- Increased efforts: Since tracking the patient’s conditions required accuracy, penning them down was assigned only to the attendant with a legible handwriting. But with the Health Information Exchange system, any person can follow the simple steps and complete the task without really stressing over the handwriting.
- Increased responsibility: With bundles of papers presenting, maintaining, storing and preserving of medical information was not a cakewalk. Special attention had to be devoted in order to make sure the records are neatly and regularly stacked. With HIE, all the data being already stored chronologically, no fuss of stacking papers and stapling or filing them is required.
- Reduced scope of errors: Humans tend to make mistakes and thus the scope of errors is high in the manual recording of data. Also, security issues were a major concern as anyone could manipulate the data. But with the digitalization, the threats and error occurrence have drastically reduced.
Health Information Exchange Forms
- Query Based Exchange: The retrieval of any patient’s record is achieved by placing a query by the care provider in the system. The recipient then responds to the query and provides with the required data if any. It is usually used in the case of unplanned care. This type of exchange is dynamic in nature where the data is fetched as and when required.
- Directed Exchange: Used in the case of planned care, in this system, the care providers exchange the information directly instead of putting any query. The data is compiled and sent together in one shot that comprises of a complete case study of the patient, including examinations required to be performed, lab results, and medical history of the patient. Thus, by sending these, the receiver can get a detailed analysis of the patient.
- Consumer-mediated exchange: An additional advantage of Health Information Exchange is that even the patient can have the access to its documents and actively participate in the complete process. By making these records available to the patient, he/she can keep a better track of their health status and thus take required measures to stay in shape. They can modify incorrect information or even add the missing details and can cross-check the billing and other expenses involved and if necessary, raise an issue in case of any discrepancy.