Information...when and where you need it

Information...when and where you need it

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Did you know that Indiana has five HIOs? Ok, if you’re not familiar with the term you may be wondering what a HIO is. A HIO is short for Health Information Organization. Can you name any of them? Let me help you out...the five major HIOs in Indiana are: Healthbridge, HealthLINC, Indiana HIE (IHIE), Med-Web, and Michiana Health Info Network. All of these HIOs have been operational and sustainable for at least four years and when combined, their services provide HIE (Health Information Exchange) and meaningful use options that cover the entire state.

HIE as mentioned above is a well-known term, especially since the Stimulus Plan went into effect in February 2009. What is HIE? HIE is the secure, electronic exchange of health information among authorized stakeholders in the healthcare community – such as care providers, patients, and public health agencies to drive timely, efficient, high-quality, preventive, and patient-centered care. HIE makes patient information available to authorized providers when and where it is needed – quickly and securely. Two top functions provided by HIEs are connectivity to electronic health records and lab results. You will see HIO and HIE used interchangeably.

Currently there are at least 73 operational HIEs. That’s an increase of 57 in just the last year. Indiana operates the nation’s largest health information exchange (IHIE), providing a secure and robust statewide health information technology network that connects over 80 hospitals, long-term care facilities and other healthcare providers in Indiana. This network serves more than ten million patients and over 19,000 physicians throughout the country.

When I began doing research on this topic, I became a bit confused because with all the various HIEs (focusing on Indiana) I wondered why so many and why choose one over the other? The great part is that a provider can be part of more than one. What I also learned is that they are all exchanging similar information, what may differ is the way they exchange that information. They all may connect healthcare providers with clinical data, results delivery, and clinical messaging, but the way they deliver the information will vary. An One example, IHIE, is dedicated to providing clinical data and quality standards to assist providers and other relevant parties in achieving the highest quality patient care. They achieve this goal by the use of DOCS4DOCS Clinical Messaging Service and the Quality Health First program. With the DOCS4DOCS service, IHIE delivers over 38,000 messages per day to over 5,000 physicians in Indiana. The Quality Health First program provides reports, alerts, reminders and other information to help physicians monitor patients’ health and wellness, including the management of common, chronic diseases. Although they are located in different parts of the state they all have a common goal of ensuring that data is being exchanged securely and in an expeditious manner.

So, what are the benefits of HIE?

  • Improved patient safety
  • Better workflow efficiency and lower administrative costs
  • Enhanced communication between hospitals, laboratories, pharmacies and physician offices
  • Easier access and retrieval of clinical data
  • More accurate feedback and benchmarking tool
  • Improved audit trails and chain of custody
  • Reduced duplicate testing
  • The benefits of participating in a HIE are endless and while federal dollars continue to be available the number of HIEs will continue to increase. To learn more information about the five Indiana HIOs go to the websites below.

    ~ Tosha Miles

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