Maine Goes All In With HIE

HIE Initiatives Moving Forward

When it comes to moving the EHR and HIE initiatives forward there are some things that are obvious. If a community wants the most people involved and enrolled in health record exchanges the most obvious way is to have everyone in and leave it to the patient to opt out. The hospitals and physicians of Maine came together when the state wanted to force the “opt in” proposal and voiced their objections. When the rewritten “opt out” legislation is signed it will be in the fore front of how health information exchanges will work. In addition, the bill would require HealthInfoNet to allow patients to opt out, request reports of who has accessed their records, and remove their records after they have opted out.

HealthInfoNet is Maine’s secure health information exchange (HIE). Health care providers use the network to share patient health information. HealthInfoNet has always operated with an opt out model. The original proposed bill wanted to change this. The law does not mandate any provider or hospital on opt out options but HealthInfoNet is speaking out and encouraging distribution to all patients on their rights to opt out. Amy Landry, communications manager, at HealthInfoNet, says it “really boils down to patient awareness, opt-in and opt-out are irrelevant at that point. It’s really about making the patient aware that this is there, and what it can do for them, what the benefits are, what the risks are, and how they engage.”

Health Exchanges are just now extablishing themselves and Maine is leading the way. Look for this to be coming up in all the states as the exchanges start to connect the community. And while the states are figuring things out, HHS is doing its part and studying HIE patient consent.

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