Frequently Asked Questions
The RGV HIE provides the technical and legal infrastructure to support Health Information Exchange by providing services and online tools to enhance care coordination, interoperability, and data aggregation among participants. Services to be provided include the following:
2. What is a health information exchange (HIE)?
Health information exchange (HIE) is defined as the electronic movement of health-related information among health care organizations according to nationally recognized standards and conducted in a manner that protects the confidentiality, privacy, and security of the information. HIE may also refer to the electronic infrastructure that enables health care providers to access and share a patient’s medical information electronically to enhance coordination of patient care among providers, improve the quality and efficiency of care that a patient receives, improve patient safety, reduce medical errors and duplicate services. HIE is also useful in enhancing public health and disease detection and monitoring.
4. Why are HIEs valuable?
An HIE allows two or more health care providers involved in providing care to a patient to quickly, securely, and accurately share information. Because each authorized provider can readily see a patient’s complete electronic health record (EHR), the need for duplicate medical tests is reduced, efficiency is improved, and patients receive higher quality care.
Authorized medical professionals can quickly and easily retrieve a patient’s treatment record, lab results, prescription lists and other information even if those records are stored in a distant location. Currently, physicians and their staff are spending much of their time “chasing” paperwork and results, which means they have less time to spend with patients.
HIE enhances accuracy, appropriateness and efficiency in patient care.
Unlike paper records, they are not bulky, they don’t take up costly space and they don’t require labor-intensive methods to maintain, retrieve and file. EHRs are also stored in a standard way, so information is where the provider expects it to be, and there is no need to decipher handwritten notes.
6. How secure are HIE’s?
HIEs must comply with the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), and other state and federal laws, so security must be built into the system. Unlike paper records, electronic records can be encrypted – using technology that makes them unreadable to anyone other than an authorized user – and security access parameters are set so that only authorized individuals can view them.
Furthermore, any time a person accesses an electronic record, the information is tracked and audited. When paper records are viewed by people, it is very difficult to track who saw the information and whether it was authorized.