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 maximize its use and minimize any associated risks, a good knowledge of HIE is required.
The following are the most common scenarios where HIE proves indispensable:
Emergencies due to Accidents
If you get into an accident and are unable to provide details of your medical history to your health care provider, the staff can simply look up information about you, such as your medications, illnesses and tests. This makes it easier for them to create 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.
Improved Care with Less 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 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 crucial benefit as any medical condition can turn for the worse when the patient is given the wrong drugs.
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.
When health information is stored and used digitally, tracking access becomes a whole lot easier. 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. When there is a need to obtain such details for legal purposes, everything becomes easier electronically as opposed to the traditional paper system.
HIE, as with any process or system, has its own controlled risks. Identity theft is one, but this can be well managed just by using the right system safeguards and precautions. Truth is, all electronic systems are dealing with this risk.
Another risk is feeding erroneous information into the system, but again, this can be avoided by choosing reliable people 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.
Be sure to ask your health care provider if they implement HIE. If you have questions regarding the protection of your health data, approach your doctor.