This year was a big one for the health IT industry, and one of the most well-known catch phrases you've likely heard from many medical professionals relates to electronic health information exchange.
What is HIE?
In short, HIE is an comprehensive health IT system that allows doctors, nurses, pharmacists and many other professionals within the health care industry to share patient information by electronic means, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. The purpose of HIE is to streamline patient care and give doctors greater access to patient needs.
For decades, paper was the go-to means of storing patient information in practices and hospitals. However, as health tech has become increasingly more sophisticated, many doctors are moving toward electronic health records. According to HHS, sharing patient information between medical professionals leads to four important benefits:
- Avoiding readmissions
- Reducing the rate of medication errors
- Enhancing diagnoses
- Lowering duplicate testing
The HHS has stated that medical software is in no way trying to replace the value of the patient-physician communication experience, but rather improve it with a standardized process.
How does HIE benefit cardiology?
EHRs have already begun to make an impact on cardiology. According to the American College of Cardiology, 78 percent of cardiologists have reported that they used EHRs for at least two years or more. What's more, nine out of 10 cardiologists admitted to having a full-functioning EHR.
Several leading cardiologists expressed to the source that EHR systems have improved their practices in many ways. Some of these include improved medical billing and coding applications, e-prescriptions, better patient care and more accurate knowledge when it comes to workflow.
Interoperability was also cited as a major perk with HIE. For U.S.-based systems, this type of technology is practically a must for cardiologists, as they handle quite a few referrals and see many types of patients for their services. Having streamlined access to a patient's EHR can allow a primary care physician to communicate with a cardiologist in a much more timely and accurate manner. Imaging and other notes can be shared between doctors as well, which can save patients time and money.
Implementing HIE also has practical benefits for cardiologists as well, as there are meaningful use incentives and other financial benefits related to switching over to an HIE and EHR platform. However, in the long run, these innovations are ultimately there to help patients better manage their medical finances, track their health needs and monitor important or missing health information.