Health Information Exchange
Health information exchange (HIE) refers to the secure and timely sharing of electronic health data across boundaries of health care institutions. The goal is to enable access to clinical data to deliver safe, appropriate, efficient, and equitable patient-centered care. When clinicians have full access to a patient’s health data, they can recommend appropriate treatment and improve the patients care experiences. HIE can reduce redundant tests; prevent patient admissions to hospitals for medication errors, allergies, or interactions; decrease the cost of care for patients with chronic diseases; and reduce administrative time requesting records from other providers.
Allergists accessing electronic health records (EHRs) can take advantage of electronic sharing of patient information between different EHR systems and health care providers because of interoperability. HIE facilitates interoperability. The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society defines interoperability as the ability of different technology systems and software applications to communicate, exchange data, and understand the information that has been exchanged. To ensure interoperability, the adoption of standards can enable data to be shared across separate healthcare settings regardless of the application or vendor. Patients can also benefit from interoperability by having more control of their medical records through smartphone and software applications.
The Trusted Exchange Framework and the Common Agreement (TEFCA), mandated by the 21st Century Cures Act, outlines a policy and methodology to exchange electronic health information across unrelated health information networks (HINs). To participate in HIE through the TEFCA, providers can either join an existing qualified health information network (QHIN) or other practices to form a new QHIN or require health IT developers with whom the provider contracts be connected to the network created by the Common Agreement. Once providers can access patient data from across networks nationwide, patient safety and better quality care can be achieved.
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