To better track and securely share patients’ complete medical histories, more and more health care providers are participating in health information exchange (HIE). HIE helps facilitate coordinated patient care, reduce duplicative treatments and avoid costly mistakes. This practice is growing among health providers because the need for HIE is clear and the HIE benefits are significant.
HIE benefits include:
- Provides a vehicle for improving quality and safety of patient care by reducing medication and medical errors
- Stimulates consumer education and patients' involvement in their own health care
- Increases efficiency by eliminating unnecessary paperwork
- Provides caregivers with clinical decision support tools for more effective care and treatment
- Eliminates redundant or unnecessary testing
- Improves public health reporting and monitoring
- Creates a potential loop for feedback between health-related research and actual practice
- Facilitates efficient deployment of emerging technology and health care services
- Provides the backbone of technical infrastructure for leverage by national and State-level initiatives
- Provides a basic level of interoperability among electronic health records (EHRs) maintained by individual physicians and organizations
- Reduces health related costs1
Electronic health information systems can help prevent errors by ensuring that everyone involved in a patient’s care—whether in a primary care setting, a specialists’ office or emergency department—has access to the same information. HIE also encourages efficient care by enabling automatic appointment reminders or follow-up instructions to be sent directly to patients, and prescriptions directly to pharmacies. HIE reduces the amount of time patients spend filling out paperwork and briefing their providers on their medical history, allowing more time for discussions about health concerns and treatments. And by saving time for patients and providers along the entire continuum of health care delivery, HIE has the potential to both reduce costs and improve health outcomes.