What is HIE, and Why is it Safer & Smarter Than Faxing?
Posted by Kaitlyn Schnell
Your practice has been faxing and snail-mailing patient information for years without issue, so why would you switch to an electronic format now? The answer may have a more significant effect on your care and efficiency than you think.
Health information exchange (HIE) offers clinics increased data security and faster, more informed patient care. In a fast-paced, modern world, it’s imperative to have the ability to electronically exchange data in a matter of seconds. Utilizing the right technology can be the difference between outdated workflows and a smooth healthcare experience for providers and patients.
What is HIE in healthcare?
HIE stands for health information exchange and is the electronic transfer of protected health information (PHI). HIE allows providers and other healthcare workers to share patients’ medical information quickly and securely.
When HIE and your EHR work together, it helps keep a patient’s record current and complete and supports a coordinated effort between all key players involved in the patient’s care. Providers, specialists, nurses, and emergency room workers can immediately see details like medical history, prescriptions, allergies, etc., to make informed healthcare decisions.
What are the benefits of HIE over faxing, mailing, or in-person sharing?
HIE is here to stay, and it’s not hard to see why when you understand its multitude of benefits. Here are just a few:
When providers have the most up-to-date information at the point of care, it allows for smarter decision-making and fewer mistakes. HIE decreases medication mix-ups, avoids duplicate testing, and allows for more accurate diagnoses. When you eliminate the need for a patient to fill a provider in on their medical history, there’s more time to discuss health concerns and get questions answered.
More Secure PHI
When confidential information is printed on paper and stored at multiple locations, it provides more opportunities for these hard copies to get lost, stolen, or damaged. Then, when the time comes for the data to switch hands, mailing, faxing, or in-person delivery makes room for human error. HIE and EHRs keep patient information safe during and after data transfer and always comply with HIPAA rules.
We all know that handwriting something takes longer than typing, which also rings true for healthcare processes. Electronic health information exchange helps avoid unnecessary paperwork—even for patients—and improves your overall practice efficiency.
Meeting MIPS promoting interoperability (PI) requirements involves endless reports and data gathering. Integrating HIE at your practice eliminates unnecessary busywork and manual tasks. Automatically send and receive data in CCDA format, quickly reconcile patient information, and more.
More Informed Patients
When patients can access their health data electronically, they’ll have a better understanding of diagnoses and treatment plans, as well as medical history. Electronic access also allows patients to download medical data and easily send information to outside providers. With HIE, patients play a more active role in their healthcare.
Improved Public Health Records
Reporting and monitoring public health trends is critical in keeping communities safe, and that has never been more true than during the COVID-19 pandemic. Public health relies on providers’ reporting, and HIE allows for easy data gathering and ensures correct formatting.
What are the different forms of HIE?
There are three different forms of electronic health information exchange used today, depending on the situation and the data required.
Directed exchange is a form of HIE when providers directly send PHI to other healthcare providers electronically—such as lab results, referrals, care summaries, or immunizations—for coordinated patient care.
Query-based exchange is a form of HIE when providers electronically request or search for PHI from other providers, mostly for unplanned patient care.
Consumer-mediated exchange is a form of HIE when patients electronically access their PHI to stay involved in their personal healthcare, supply new providers with their information, and help identify any errors.
How do I get started with HIE?
Incorporating HIE at your practice is more hassle-free than you think. With Intelligent Medical Software’s HIE solution, you can securely send and receive PHI in a heartbeat. Fully integrated into your electronic health record (EHR) system, IMS HIE connects you to a comprehensive Surescripts network of over 170,000 clinicians for a hub of HIPAA-compliant health data at your fingertips. HIE’s efficiency plays a huge role in your practice’s success and patients’ happiness.