Health Information Exchange, a process and industry aimed at improving health care quality, has offered substantial benefits to both health care providers and consumers. To understand how its uses can be maximized and its risked minimized, it is important to have a full understanding of HIE.
Here are the most common situations where HIE can be most beneficial:
Accidents and Emergencies
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. As a result, they can quickly come up with an emergency care plan for you.
Even if a disaster struck your area, you can be sure that your health information is saved in electronic form and intact.
Better Care Due to Reduced Errors
When a health care provider can access your information anytime and anywhere, they will be able to get a more accurate picture of your health. That also means they will be able to give you the best treatment.
For instance, if you can’t tell them what medications you’re taking at present, they can just look at your information and prescribe medicines that will not cause adverse reactions. This is actually a vital benefit as a medical condition can be aggravated by the wrong drugs.
In terms of the safety benefits of HIE, another way it helps is by preventing test duplication, especially x-rays and other lab tests that expose the patient to radiation and other side effects. Obviously, this is also accompanied by the benefit of reducing your costs.
It is easy to track access to health information when it is stored electronically. In short, you would easily know who looked up your records, when, what type of information was accessed, and the like. When you need these details for any legal purpose, the process because easier when done electronically than with old-fashioned paper files.
HIE, as with any process or system, has its own controlled risks. An example is identity theft, although this can be managed by implementing the right precautions and safeguards to the system. In fact, all electronic systems have this risk.
Another risk is feeding inaccurate information into the system, which again is easily addressed by assigning dependable stuff for this role. The risk is also present with paper health records, but way lower with HIE. HIE can do checks and balances as well, but paper records can’t.
Be sure to ask your health care provider if they implement HIE. If you have questions about your health data protection, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor.