Before electronic health records (EHR), crucial medical information was recorded on paper and stored in providers’ offices or, more haphazardly, in patients’ homes.
EHRs are a far more secure and efficient method of storing valuable data. Just as important, though, is the role EHRs play in the facilitation of health information exchange (HIE). HIE allows caregivers and providers across the healthcare spectrum to electronically gain access to and share medical information. This greatly improves the cost, quality, safety and speed of medical care.
The benefits of HIE are many and include:
To implement HIE, you’ll need to determine both your organization’s needs as well as what’s available to you in your location. Your first step will be contacting your state’s HIE representative. This information is available online at HealthIT.gov. Your state’s HIE representative will be able to direct you to available exchange service providers, and also provide information on the current status and progress of HIE modernization in your state.
Once you’ve identified your available exchange service providers, you’ll need to contact each to determine which one is the best fit for your organization.
Service providers differ in the services they offer, as well as their advancement concerning HIE. Know your organization’s needs and goals so that you can determine how likely a provider is to help you meet them. You should leave the conversation knowing:
Next, you’ll need to talk with your vendor to find out of it has incorporated HIE into its EHR. Here are some important questions to discuss with your vendor: