HIE (health information exchange) is essential for interoperability. This is especially true as technology advances and there are more options for receiving and transferring information. Healthcare organizations must make sure that all employees are trained properly to overcome any potential problems with data exchange.
Recent federal actions and policies support HIE adoption in order to improve healthcare through the integration of fragmented personal information. Yet, HIE software has been facilitated in concert for more than two decades.
These experiences have taught us that there are still barriers and challenges that need to be overcome beyond technology. These barriers may not be addressed by the existing support and methods for facilitating HIE without new strategies.
- Providers must demonstrate that they are able to electronically share health information in order to become meaningful EHR users.
Overview of the Health Information Exchange:
HIE (Health Information Exchange) refers to the digital exchange of health information between individuals, groups, health care sectors, public health, and other organizations. HIE allows electronic clinical information to be moved to different health information systems. It is safer, more efficient, and more equitable than traditional methods.
Patient care is more efficient when it happens faster. Patient safety is an important component of health information exchange. It plays a critical role in providing high-quality healthcare. HIE can have both positive and negative effects on information security.
Major Health Information Exchange Challenges
The Government Accountability Office (GAO), which reviewed HHS documentation and interviewed HHS officials, interviewed HHS providers, physicians, and other relevant stakeholders, about their experiences, as well as the challenges that providers and stakeholders in HIE face.
The GAO highlights the key issues that prevent electronic health information exchange and how HHS plans to address them.
- Standards for electronic health information sharing Insufficiencies reported
- Electronically exchanged information from one provider must conform to the same standards to allow interoperability.
- Reports of state privacy rules varying and ambiguity about requirements
Providers have shared that it can be difficult to exchange health information with providers from other states due to their limited knowledge of privacy laws.
Privacy Security of Health Records
Through ongoing collaborations with States and other government agencies, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology is trying to resolve privacy concerns related to electronic health data exchange. Providers are still having difficulty ensuring that they comply with state laws when exchanging personal health information with providers from another state.
Reports indicate that it is difficult to match patients with their health records accurately.
Accurately match patients with their records
Some providers claimed that they don’t have a way to accurately match patients with their records, and therefore cannot efficiently exchange health information. GAO was informed by multiple stakeholders and providers of cases in which patients have the same name, and birth year and reside in the same region.
Many providers and stakeholders believe that national patient identification should be implemented to match patients with their records. However, HHS stated that this was not possible and referred to the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2000.
HHS is prohibited from using funds to adopt or promulgate any final standard that provides for or allows for the assignment or assignation of a unique health identifier for an individual until legislation specifically approves the standard.
Reports on difficulties with exchanging health information
The providers also expressed concerns about covering the costs of health information exchange. These included up-front costs for purchasing and implementing EHR systems, participation fees in local or state HIE groups, and transaction fees charged by vendors for exchanging information.
Many providers stated that they need to invest in additional capabilities, such as the establishment of interfaces for laboratory exchanges or other entities like HIE organizations.
CHMISs were plagued by a lack of affordable, reliable, and efficient technology. Before the introduction of high-speed internet access, CHMISs existed before reliable and affordable high-speed internet access was available.
The CHMIS required expensive network connections, hardware and software to be installed in places where such technology was not available. CHMIS also discovered the challenge of integrating data from sources that were not previously combined.
When exchanging health information, it is hard to match patients with their health records. Due to multiple patients living in the same areas, and having the same birth year and name, it is becoming difficult for providers to match them with their health records and share information. It is, therefore, necessary to have an identifier that matches patients with their health records.
Patient authorization is a major challenge in health information exchange. It is necessary to share health data via various platforms and technology. If the patient’s health information is not shared with their authorization, it could pose legal risks.
Health information exchange (HIE), is a solution for these problems that have been identified by policymakers, researchers, industry associations, and healthcare professionals. HIE refers to the sharing of patient-level electronic medical information between different organizations.
Modern healthcare is driven by information. Documents are stored in EHR systems and can be exchanged. Although there are challenges in sharing health information, as partners in digital healthcare software development, we strongly believe it can offer great potential.
HIE is becoming a cornerstone for better clinical workflows, and patient outcomes and more healthcare organizations are paying more attention to the many benefits of health data exchange.
The potential effects of making patient-level information previously unavailable to healthcare professionals are wide-ranging and meet almost all of the Institute of Medicine’s quality aims. HIE promises quality and cost improvements but we have not yet seen consistent empirical evidence of its effectiveness.