Teaching Providers How to do Health Information Exchange (HIE)

Health Information Exchange (HIE) as a Discipline

Consultant/Founder at HealthTechture
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If we’re going to cement health information exchange as a way of conducting business in the delivery of health care to patients, we need to further define Health Information Exchange (HIE) as a discipline that applies to the practice of exchanging health information in order to coordinate care and support the real-time health and wellness of patients.

HIE is a potential attribute of healthcare systems (just as patient safety and quality are attributes) that aims to ensure that an interoperable, longitudinal, real-time flow of patient information is available for the patient and his caregivers so that knowledge from this information can support wise choices on behalf of the patient.

As a discipline, we have to teach providers how to do HIE, thus we must develop a HIE Cookbook approach to HIE education and learning.  As we develop HIT workforce initiatives, we should be training workers as HIE Specialists so that they can be brought into hospital and provider organizations to ensure that health IT systems are developed, implemented, and deployed with health information interoperability ensured so that robust health information exchange is achieved with external parties.

This enablement of health information exchange in the healthcare delivery process will have the antecedent benefit of creating data repositories that will permit the secondary uses of data that can drive population health, patient safety and quality improvement.  But, the focal point of HIE in the context of health care reform is transforming the delivery of care from episodic patient care to the health, wellness and care management of the patient.  The movements toward patient centered medical home and accountable care will be best facilitated if we institutionalize health information exchange in our hospitals, physician practices, and with patients fully engaged in the information flow.  Health Information Exchange must be integrated into the new models of care that are emerging and we need to make sure that we are empowering our IT workforce and our line health care workers to make HIE a transparent component of the clinician workflow and the patient’s daily life.

HIE resources to explore:

Eric J. Klos is founder of Healthtechture,  a business consulting services firm offering strategic planning, marketing, business development, capture management, and proposal support to companies targeting Federal Health IT initiatives and those that operate in the HIE market space (consulting firms and HIE technology vendors). He can be contacted at: eklos@healthtechture.com