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Health Information Exchange (HIE)

 

Overview

Interoperability

Benefits of Health Information Exchanges (HIEs)

Government Support of Health Information Exchange

The State Health Information Exchange Cooperative Agreement Program

 

Overview

 

A Health Information Exchange (HIE) is a system that enables the seamless, secure electronic transfer of healthcare information between individuals and organizations within a region, community, or healthcare system. The objective of Health Information Exchange is to enable safe, timely, cost-efficient patient-centric healthcare. HIEs also assist public health authorities in the analyses of epidemiology and support the general public health.

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Interoperability

 

A key characteristic of an HIE is “Interoperability.” Interoperability refers to an HIE’s ability to securely and reliably transmit and receive data using standard data formats. Uniform standards enable interoperability by encoding medical information in a universally-recognized language known as a data protocol.

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Benefits of Health Information Exchanges (HIEs)

 

The secure, electronic exchange of medical information between authorized stakeholders throughout the continuum of care is critical to the delivery of high-quality, cost-efficient patient care. For example, HIEs can improve the quality of clinical decision-making by delivering accurate, up-to-date patient data and relevant information regarding best practices directly to the point-of-care.

HIEs can also significantly reduce the costs of healthcare administration. A study by Thomson Reuters found that administrative inefficiency and redundant paperwork resulting from the use of antiquated, paper-based systems consume $153 billion of current U.S. annual healthcare expenditures.

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U.S. Government Support of Health Information Exchange


A sub-section of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), known as the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act), provides financial incentives for the adoption of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and authorizes the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to promote Health Information Exchange.


Under ARRA, the ONC is responsible for:


  • Coordination of the development and implementation of health information technology standards
  • The promotion of the HIE initiatives
  • Certification of Electronic Health Records (EHR)
  • Assessment of disparities in the use of health information technology Evaluate costs and benefits of EHR technologies
  • Support for the ongoing improvement of EHR technologies

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The State Health Information Exchange Cooperative Agreement Program


The HITECH Act authorized the establishment of the State Health Information Exchange Cooperative Agreement Program to advance appropriate and secure health information exchange (HIE) across the health care system. In March 2010, ONC completed the announcement of State Health Information (State HIE) Exchange Cooperative Agreement Program awardees. In total, 56 states, eligible territories, and qualified State Designated Entities (SDE) received awards.

The State HIE Cooperative Agreement Program funds states’ efforts to rapidly build capacity for exchanging health information across the health care system both within and across states. Awardees are responsible for increasing connectivity and enabling patient-centric information flow to improve the quality and efficiency of care.

Key to this is the continual evolution and advancement of necessary governance, policies, technical services, business operations, and financing mechanisms for HIE over each state, territory, and SDE’s four-year performance period. This program is building on existing efforts to advance regional and state-level health information exchange while moving toward nationwide interoperability.

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