Health Information Exchange (HIE) is a system and industry that has benefited both health care providers and consumers significantly in terms of improving health care. A good understanding of HIE is key to maximizing its use and reducing any accompanying risks.
Here are the most common scenarios where HIE proves most beneficial:
Emergencies Arising from Accidents
If you figure in an accident and you couldn’t provide information about your medical background, your health care provider can simply look up those all-important details, such as your past illnesses, current medical condition, medications and the tests you’ve undergone. This allows them to move very quickly as they draw up an emergency care plan for you.
Even if your area is devastated by a natural disaster of any kind, your health information will still be safe while being stored electronically.
Better Care Due to Reduced Errors
By giving your health care provider anytime-anywhere access to your health information, they will be able to understand your health condition better. That means they can provide most effective and safest treatment too.
For example, if you are unable to tell them what medicines you’re currently taking, HIE can provide such information to your health care provider so they can prescribe medicines that will not cause adverse reactions. This is actually a very important benefit, knowing that a medical condition can worsen when a patient is prescribed the wrong medication.
Another way HIE helps improve health care is by reducing the chances of duplicate tests, especially x-rays, which can be harmful because of the radiation, and other lab procedures that have risky side effects. Of course, this also means lessening your costs.
It is easy to track access to health information when it is stored electronically. In other words, it will be easier to track who looked at your records, when they looked at it, which specific parts were accessed, and the rest. Of course, in the event that these details are required for any legal purpose, the process becomes so much easier compared to dealing with traditional paper files.
HIE, as with any process or system, has its own controlled risks. One is identity theft, but this can be effectively addressed with the right system precautions and safeguards. In fact, all electronic systems are facing the same risk.
Another risk is feeding inaccurate information into the system, which again is easily addressed by assigning dependable stuff for this role. Paper files have the same risk, it is definitely lower with electronic files. HIE can also perform checks and balances, which paper records cannot.
It’s good to ask your health care provider if they participate in HIE. If you have questions about your health data protection, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor.