HIE’s: How sharing info on health information exchanges is changing health care.

182269979_Doctor-and-patient-500pxWhat are HIEs & RHIOs ?

Unless you’ve had your head stuck in the sand, you’ve likely heard about Obamacare, otherwise known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and details of the new changes that are being implemented throughout our health care systems. This overhaul of our health care system is driven by a focused effort to reduce costs and identify methods to deliver new efficiencies. An area that promises to deliver just this is health information exchanges (HIEs). An HIE is a way to efficiently centralize and share health care information electronically across organizations, hospitals, or within a community. HIE systems do many things, including providing a total patient view electronically across health care providers. A primary benefit of this electronic sharing of information is how it enables physicians to provide a better continuity of care even when a patient is being seen across multiple providers. For example, a patient may have a disease like diabetes and regularly visit a specialist each month. The primary care physician and the diabetes secondary health care provider can share test results, lab reports, medication history, and other health care documents electronically. This removes the need to fax or mail healthcare paperwork. The HIE provides a more efficient model, provided that a patient consents to share all of their information. By doing so, it opens new electronic lines of communication between health care providers and can eliminate redundancies such as ordering duplicate tests.  In summary, it provides a more complete and up-to-date picture of a patient’s health.Currently in Rochester, NY, most of our major hospital systems are utilizing some form of an HIE and we also have a non-for-profit, community-run system called the Rochester RHIO (Regional Health Information Organization) working to connect health care providers and patients in our region. The Rochester RHIO is one of several regional RHIOs across New York State that provides a secure HIE. Our region’s community HIE has the highest rate of patient consent in the nation with RHIOs who have an opt-in model, currently 71 percent according to their website. So how does this all work and why should I provide my consent?

 

Patient consenting, how does it work and what’s in it for me?

The concept behind an HIE is that doctors get easy access to patient information and patients receive improved quality of health care, and ultimately lowered health care expenses. Other technologies are continuing to evolve and are providing additional services through an HIE. For example, some organizations are now utilizing “alerts,” which provide an electronic notice to primary care doctors when a patient has an emergency or is hospitalized. This technology enables doctors to provide better care and reduce hospital readmissions for patients. A recent article in Clinical Innovation & Technology explored how using an HIE for hospital alerts could save millions in hospital readmissions.

In the Greater Rochester community, we have seen widespread acceptance of HIEs with over 1 million patients providing consent for their doctor out of a total population of 1.4 million according to the Rochester RHIO. Furthermore, almost 300 physicians and 19 hospitals also share information within the local RHIO. For patients it all starts and ends with “opting in” and signing a patient consent form. While almost three-quarters of our local population has agreed to share through our RHIO, over 92 percent of patients say yes when asked to have their information shared through the local RHIO according to http://www.grrhio.org/. The gap locally between consented patients (71 percent) and patients when asked to consent (92 percent) could exist for a number of reasons such as lack of health care provider acceptance or awareness, privacy concerns, a desire for a limited consent, or a lack of patient awareness of HIEs and exactly what is being shared and with whom. While our region has seen incremental increases in consenting, other areas of the country lag behind.

 

What concerns are stopping individuals from consenting?

A lack of education on available options, trust and privacy concerns are all factors that keep people from agreeing to consent. Patient education and engagement are important first steps to achieve “meaningful consent.” This is achieved when a patient truly understands the full scenario. One ongoing debate among health care providers is finding a balance to gaining consent and access to patient information while also respecting a patient’s choice for what information they might want to share. This sharing of some information, but not all, often eliminates any efficiencies in an HIE model. For example, sometimes patients might desire limited or no access versus an opt-in for a complete blanket approval for consent. Many HIEs and RHIOs are striving to help patients to understand “meaningful consent” when it comes to data sharing. According to HealthIT.gov, consent decisions should include full understanding for a patient if their health information will be released, if the release will be limited and the circumstances that would trigger the release, and by whom (doctors, HIEs, etc.).

The next time you visit your doctor ask if they use an HIE and what are your options for consenting. Get more involved in your health care and become informed. Find a balance that’s right for both you and your doctor.

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HIE’s: How sharing info on health information exchanges is changing health care.

182269979_Doctor-and-patient-500pxWhat are HIEs & RHIOs ?

Unless you’ve had your head stuck in the sand, you’ve likely heard about Obamacare, otherwise known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and details of the new changes that are being implemented throughout our health care systems. This overhaul of our health care system is driven by a focused effort to reduce costs and identify methods to deliver new efficiencies. An area that promises to deliver just this is health information exchanges (HIEs). An HIE is a way to efficiently centralize and share health care information electronically across organizations, hospitals, or within a community. HIE systems do many things, including providing a total patient view electronically across health care providers. A primary benefit of this electronic sharing of information is how it enables physicians to provide a better continuity of care even when a patient is being seen across multiple providers. For example, a patient may have a disease like diabetes and regularly visit a specialist each month. The primary care physician and the diabetes secondary health care provider can share test results, lab reports, medication history, and other health care documents electronically. This removes the need to fax or mail healthcare paperwork. The HIE provides a more efficient model, provided that a patient consents to share all of their information. By doing so, it opens new electronic lines of communication between health care providers and can eliminate redundancies such as ordering duplicate tests.  In summary, it provides a more complete and up-to-date picture of a patient’s health.Currently in Rochester, NY, most of our major hospital systems are utilizing some form of an HIE and we also have a non-for-profit, community-run system called the Rochester RHIO (Regional Health Information Organization) working to connect health care providers and patients in our region. The Rochester RHIO is one of several regional RHIOs across New York State that provides a secure HIE. Our region’s community HIE has the highest rate of patient consent in the nation with RHIOs who have an opt-in model, currently 71 percent according to their website. So how does this all work and why should I provide my consent?

 

Patient consenting, how does it work and what’s in it for me?

The concept behind an HIE is that doctors get easy access to patient information and patients receive improved quality of health care, and ultimately lowered health care expenses. Other technologies are continuing to evolve and are providing additional services through an HIE. For example, some organizations are now utilizing “alerts,” which provide an electronic notice to primary care doctors when a patient has an emergency or is hospitalized. This technology enables doctors to provide better care and reduce hospital readmissions for patients. A recent article in Clinical Innovation & Technology explored how using an HIE for hospital alerts could save millions in hospital readmissions.

In the Greater Rochester community, we have seen widespread acceptance of HIEs with over 1 million patients providing consent for their doctor out of a total population of 1.4 million according to the Rochester RHIO. Furthermore, almost 300 physicians and 19 hospitals also share information within the local RHIO. For patients it all starts and ends with “opting in” and signing a patient consent form. While almost three-quarters of our local population has agreed to share through our RHIO, over 92 percent of patients say yes when asked to have their information shared through the local RHIO according to http://www.grrhio.org/. The gap locally between consented patients (71 percent) and patients when asked to consent (92 percent) could exist for a number of reasons such as lack of health care provider acceptance or awareness, privacy concerns, a desire for a limited consent, or a lack of patient awareness of HIEs and exactly what is being shared and with whom. While our region has seen incremental increases in consenting, other areas of the country lag behind.

 

What concerns are stopping individuals from consenting?

A lack of education on available options, trust and privacy concerns are all factors that keep people from agreeing to consent. Patient education and engagement are important first steps to achieve “meaningful consent.” This is achieved when a patient truly understands the full scenario. One ongoing debate among health care providers is finding a balance to gaining consent and access to patient information while also respecting a patient’s choice for what information they might want to share. This sharing of some information, but not all, often eliminates any efficiencies in an HIE model. For example, sometimes patients might desire limited or no access versus an opt-in for a complete blanket approval for consent. Many HIEs and RHIOs are striving to help patients to understand “meaningful consent” when it comes to data sharing. According to HealthIT.gov, consent decisions should include full understanding for a patient if their health information will be released, if the release will be limited and the circumstances that would trigger the release, and by whom (doctors, HIEs, etc.).

The next time you visit your doctor ask if they use an HIE and what are your options for consenting. Get more involved in your health care and become informed. Find a balance that’s right for both you and your doctor.

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There are no comments yet. Be the first and leave a response!

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HIE’s: How sharing info on health information exchanges is changing health care.

182269979_Doctor-and-patient-500pxWhat are HIEs & RHIOs ?

Unless you’ve had your head stuck in the sand, you’ve likely heard about Obamacare, otherwise known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and details of the new changes that are being implemented throughout our health care systems. This overhaul of our health care system is driven by a focused effort to reduce costs and identify methods to deliver new efficiencies. An area that promises to deliver just this is health information exchanges (HIEs). An HIE is a way to efficiently centralize and share health care information electronically across organizations, hospitals, or within a community. HIE systems do many things, including providing a total patient view electronically across health care providers. A primary benefit of this electronic sharing of information is how it enables physicians to provide a better continuity of care even when a patient is being seen across multiple providers. For example, a patient may have a disease like diabetes and regularly visit a specialist each month. The primary care physician and the diabetes secondary health care provider can share test results, lab reports, medication history, and other health care documents electronically. This removes the need to fax or mail healthcare paperwork. The HIE provides a more efficient model, provided that a patient consents to share all of their information. By doing so, it opens new electronic lines of communication between health care providers and can eliminate redundancies such as ordering duplicate tests.  In summary, it provides a more complete and up-to-date picture of a patient’s health.Currently in Rochester, NY, most of our major hospital systems are utilizing some form of an HIE and we also have a non-for-profit, community-run system called the Rochester RHIO (Regional Health Information Organization) working to connect health care providers and patients in our region. The Rochester RHIO is one of several regional RHIOs across New York State that provides a secure HIE. Our region’s community HIE has the highest rate of patient consent in the nation with RHIOs who have an opt-in model, currently 71 percent according to their website. So how does this all work and why should I provide my consent?

 

Patient consenting, how does it work and what’s in it for me?

The concept behind an HIE is that doctors get easy access to patient information and patients receive improved quality of health care, and ultimately lowered health care expenses. Other technologies are continuing to evolve and are providing additional services through an HIE. For example, some organizations are now utilizing “alerts,” which provide an electronic notice to primary care doctors when a patient has an emergency or is hospitalized. This technology enables doctors to provide better care and reduce hospital readmissions for patients. A recent article in Clinical Innovation & Technology explored how using an HIE for hospital alerts could save millions in hospital readmissions.

In the Greater Rochester community, we have seen widespread acceptance of HIEs with over 1 million patients providing consent for their doctor out of a total population of 1.4 million according to the Rochester RHIO. Furthermore, almost 300 physicians and 19 hospitals also share information within the local RHIO. For patients it all starts and ends with “opting in” and signing a patient consent form. While almost three-quarters of our local population has agreed to share through our RHIO, over 92 percent of patients say yes when asked to have their information shared through the local RHIO according to http://www.grrhio.org/. The gap locally between consented patients (71 percent) and patients when asked to consent (92 percent) could exist for a number of reasons such as lack of health care provider acceptance or awareness, privacy concerns, a desire for a limited consent, or a lack of patient awareness of HIEs and exactly what is being shared and with whom. While our region has seen incremental increases in consenting, other areas of the country lag behind.

 

What concerns are stopping individuals from consenting?

A lack of education on available options, trust and privacy concerns are all factors that keep people from agreeing to consent. Patient education and engagement are important first steps to achieve “meaningful consent.” This is achieved when a patient truly understands the full scenario. One ongoing debate among health care providers is finding a balance to gaining consent and access to patient information while also respecting a patient’s choice for what information they might want to share. This sharing of some information, but not all, often eliminates any efficiencies in an HIE model. For example, sometimes patients might desire limited or no access versus an opt-in for a complete blanket approval for consent. Many HIEs and RHIOs are striving to help patients to understand “meaningful consent” when it comes to data sharing. According to HealthIT.gov, consent decisions should include full understanding for a patient if their health information will be released, if the release will be limited and the circumstances that would trigger the release, and by whom (doctors, HIEs, etc.).

The next time you visit your doctor ask if they use an HIE and what are your options for consenting. Get more involved in your health care and become informed. Find a balance that’s right for both you and your doctor.

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There are no comments yet. Be the first and leave a response!

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HIE’s: How sharing info on health information exchanges is changing health care.

182269979_Doctor-and-patient-500pxWhat are HIEs & RHIOs ?

Unless you’ve had your head stuck in the sand, you’ve likely heard about Obamacare, otherwise known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and details of the new changes that are being implemented throughout our health care systems. This overhaul of our health care system is driven by a focused effort to reduce costs and identify methods to deliver new efficiencies. An area that promises to deliver just this is health information exchanges (HIEs). An HIE is a way to efficiently centralize and share health care information electronically across organizations, hospitals, or within a community. HIE systems do many things, including providing a total patient view electronically across health care providers. A primary benefit of this electronic sharing of information is how it enables physicians to provide a better continuity of care even when a patient is being seen across multiple providers. For example, a patient may have a disease like diabetes and regularly visit a specialist each month. The primary care physician and the diabetes secondary health care provider can share test results, lab reports, medication history, and other health care documents electronically. This removes the need to fax or mail healthcare paperwork. The HIE provides a more efficient model, provided that a patient consents to share all of their information. By doing so, it opens new electronic lines of communication between health care providers and can eliminate redundancies such as ordering duplicate tests.  In summary, it provides a more complete and up-to-date picture of a patient’s health.Currently in Rochester, NY, most of our major hospital systems are utilizing some form of an HIE and we also have a non-for-profit, community-run system called the Rochester RHIO (Regional Health Information Organization) working to connect health care providers and patients in our region. The Rochester RHIO is one of several regional RHIOs across New York State that provides a secure HIE. Our region’s community HIE has the highest rate of patient consent in the nation with RHIOs who have an opt-in model, currently 71 percent according to their website. So how does this all work and why should I provide my consent?

 

Patient consenting, how does it work and what’s in it for me?

The concept behind an HIE is that doctors get easy access to patient information and patients receive improved quality of health care, and ultimately lowered health care expenses. Other technologies are continuing to evolve and are providing additional services through an HIE. For example, some organizations are now utilizing “alerts,” which provide an electronic notice to primary care doctors when a patient has an emergency or is hospitalized. This technology enables doctors to provide better care and reduce hospital readmissions for patients. A recent article in Clinical Innovation & Technology explored how using an HIE for hospital alerts could save millions in hospital readmissions.

In the Greater Rochester community, we have seen widespread acceptance of HIEs with over 1 million patients providing consent for their doctor out of a total population of 1.4 million according to the Rochester RHIO. Furthermore, almost 300 physicians and 19 hospitals also share information within the local RHIO. For patients it all starts and ends with “opting in” and signing a patient consent form. While almost three-quarters of our local population has agreed to share through our RHIO, over 92 percent of patients say yes when asked to have their information shared through the local RHIO according to http://www.grrhio.org/. The gap locally between consented patients (71 percent) and patients when asked to consent (92 percent) could exist for a number of reasons such as lack of health care provider acceptance or awareness, privacy concerns, a desire for a limited consent, or a lack of patient awareness of HIEs and exactly what is being shared and with whom. While our region has seen incremental increases in consenting, other areas of the country lag behind.

 

What concerns are stopping individuals from consenting?

A lack of education on available options, trust and privacy concerns are all factors that keep people from agreeing to consent. Patient education and engagement are important first steps to achieve “meaningful consent.” This is achieved when a patient truly understands the full scenario. One ongoing debate among health care providers is finding a balance to gaining consent and access to patient information while also respecting a patient’s choice for what information they might want to share. This sharing of some information, but not all, often eliminates any efficiencies in an HIE model. For example, sometimes patients might desire limited or no access versus an opt-in for a complete blanket approval for consent. Many HIEs and RHIOs are striving to help patients to understand “meaningful consent” when it comes to data sharing. According to HealthIT.gov, consent decisions should include full understanding for a patient if their health information will be released, if the release will be limited and the circumstances that would trigger the release, and by whom (doctors, HIEs, etc.).

The next time you visit your doctor ask if they use an HIE and what are your options for consenting. Get more involved in your health care and become informed. Find a balance that’s right for both you and your doctor.

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There are no comments yet. Be the first and leave a response!

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HIE’s: How sharing info on health information exchanges is changing health care.

182269979_Doctor-and-patient-500pxWhat are HIEs & RHIOs ?

Unless you’ve had your head stuck in the sand, you’ve likely heard about Obamacare, otherwise known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and details of the new changes that are being implemented throughout our health care systems. This overhaul of our health care system is driven by a focused effort to reduce costs and identify methods to deliver new efficiencies. An area that promises to deliver just this is health information exchanges (HIEs). An HIE is a way to efficiently centralize and share health care information electronically across organizations, hospitals, or within a community. HIE systems do many things, including providing a total patient view electronically across health care providers. A primary benefit of this electronic sharing of information is how it enables physicians to provide a better continuity of care even when a patient is being seen across multiple providers. For example, a patient may have a disease like diabetes and regularly visit a specialist each month. The primary care physician and the diabetes secondary health care provider can share test results, lab reports, medication history, and other health care documents electronically. This removes the need to fax or mail healthcare paperwork. The HIE provides a more efficient model, provided that a patient consents to share all of their information. By doing so, it opens new electronic lines of communication between health care providers and can eliminate redundancies such as ordering duplicate tests.  In summary, it provides a more complete and up-to-date picture of a patient’s health.Currently in Rochester, NY, most of our major hospital systems are utilizing some form of an HIE and we also have a non-for-profit, community-run system called the Rochester RHIO (Regional Health Information Organization) working to connect health care providers and patients in our region. The Rochester RHIO is one of several regional RHIOs across New York State that provides a secure HIE. Our region’s community HIE has the highest rate of patient consent in the nation with RHIOs who have an opt-in model, currently 71 percent according to their website. So how does this all work and why should I provide my consent?

 

Patient consenting, how does it work and what’s in it for me?

The concept behind an HIE is that doctors get easy access to patient information and patients receive improved quality of health care, and ultimately lowered health care expenses. Other technologies are continuing to evolve and are providing additional services through an HIE. For example, some organizations are now utilizing “alerts,” which provide an electronic notice to primary care doctors when a patient has an emergency or is hospitalized. This technology enables doctors to provide better care and reduce hospital readmissions for patients. A recent article in Clinical Innovation & Technology explored how using an HIE for hospital alerts could save millions in hospital readmissions.

In the Greater Rochester community, we have seen widespread acceptance of HIEs with over 1 million patients providing consent for their doctor out of a total population of 1.4 million according to the Rochester RHIO. Furthermore, almost 300 physicians and 19 hospitals also share information within the local RHIO. For patients it all starts and ends with “opting in” and signing a patient consent form. While almost three-quarters of our local population has agreed to share through our RHIO, over 92 percent of patients say yes when asked to have their information shared through the local RHIO according to http://www.grrhio.org/. The gap locally between consented patients (71 percent) and patients when asked to consent (92 percent) could exist for a number of reasons such as lack of health care provider acceptance or awareness, privacy concerns, a desire for a limited consent, or a lack of patient awareness of HIEs and exactly what is being shared and with whom. While our region has seen incremental increases in consenting, other areas of the country lag behind.

 

What concerns are stopping individuals from consenting?

A lack of education on available options, trust and privacy concerns are all factors that keep people from agreeing to consent. Patient education and engagement are important first steps to achieve “meaningful consent.” This is achieved when a patient truly understands the full scenario. One ongoing debate among health care providers is finding a balance to gaining consent and access to patient information while also respecting a patient’s choice for what information they might want to share. This sharing of some information, but not all, often eliminates any efficiencies in an HIE model. For example, sometimes patients might desire limited or no access versus an opt-in for a complete blanket approval for consent. Many HIEs and RHIOs are striving to help patients to understand “meaningful consent” when it comes to data sharing. According to HealthIT.gov, consent decisions should include full understanding for a patient if their health information will be released, if the release will be limited and the circumstances that would trigger the release, and by whom (doctors, HIEs, etc.).

The next time you visit your doctor ask if they use an HIE and what are your options for consenting. Get more involved in your health care and become informed. Find a balance that’s right for both you and your doctor.

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How can we help you make change?

There are no comments yet. Be the first and leave a response!

Leave a Reply

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HIE’s: How sharing info on health information exchanges is changing health care.

182269979_Doctor-and-patient-500pxWhat are HIEs & RHIOs ?

Unless you’ve had your head stuck in the sand, you’ve likely heard about Obamacare, otherwise known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and details of the new changes that are being implemented throughout our health care systems. This overhaul of our health care system is driven by a focused effort to reduce costs and identify methods to deliver new efficiencies. An area that promises to deliver just this is health information exchanges (HIEs). An HIE is a way to efficiently centralize and share health care information electronically across organizations, hospitals, or within a community. HIE systems do many things, including providing a total patient view electronically across health care providers. A primary benefit of this electronic sharing of information is how it enables physicians to provide a better continuity of care even when a patient is being seen across multiple providers. For example, a patient may have a disease like diabetes and regularly visit a specialist each month. The primary care physician and the diabetes secondary health care provider can share test results, lab reports, medication history, and other health care documents electronically. This removes the need to fax or mail healthcare paperwork. The HIE provides a more efficient model, provided that a patient consents to share all of their information. By doing so, it opens new electronic lines of communication between health care providers and can eliminate redundancies such as ordering duplicate tests.  In summary, it provides a more complete and up-to-date picture of a patient’s health.Currently in Rochester, NY, most of our major hospital systems are utilizing some form of an HIE and we also have a non-for-profit, community-run system called the Rochester RHIO (Regional Health Information Organization) working to connect health care providers and patients in our region. The Rochester RHIO is one of several regional RHIOs across New York State that provides a secure HIE. Our region’s community HIE has the highest rate of patient consent in the nation with RHIOs who have an opt-in model, currently 71 percent according to their website. So how does this all work and why should I provide my consent?

 

Patient consenting, how does it work and what’s in it for me?

The concept behind an HIE is that doctors get easy access to patient information and patients receive improved quality of health care, and ultimately lowered health care expenses. Other technologies are continuing to evolve and are providing additional services through an HIE. For example, some organizations are now utilizing “alerts,” which provide an electronic notice to primary care doctors when a patient has an emergency or is hospitalized. This technology enables doctors to provide better care and reduce hospital readmissions for patients. A recent article in Clinical Innovation & Technology explored how using an HIE for hospital alerts could save millions in hospital readmissions.

In the Greater Rochester community, we have seen widespread acceptance of HIEs with over 1 million patients providing consent for their doctor out of a total population of 1.4 million according to the Rochester RHIO. Furthermore, almost 300 physicians and 19 hospitals also share information within the local RHIO. For patients it all starts and ends with “opting in” and signing a patient consent form. While almost three-quarters of our local population has agreed to share through our RHIO, over 92 percent of patients say yes when asked to have their information shared through the local RHIO according to http://www.grrhio.org/. The gap locally between consented patients (71 percent) and patients when asked to consent (92 percent) could exist for a number of reasons such as lack of health care provider acceptance or awareness, privacy concerns, a desire for a limited consent, or a lack of patient awareness of HIEs and exactly what is being shared and with whom. While our region has seen incremental increases in consenting, other areas of the country lag behind.

 

What concerns are stopping individuals from consenting?

A lack of education on available options, trust and privacy concerns are all factors that keep people from agreeing to consent. Patient education and engagement are important first steps to achieve “meaningful consent.” This is achieved when a patient truly understands the full scenario. One ongoing debate among health care providers is finding a balance to gaining consent and access to patient information while also respecting a patient’s choice for what information they might want to share. This sharing of some information, but not all, often eliminates any efficiencies in an HIE model. For example, sometimes patients might desire limited or no access versus an opt-in for a complete blanket approval for consent. Many HIEs and RHIOs are striving to help patients to understand “meaningful consent” when it comes to data sharing. According to HealthIT.gov, consent decisions should include full understanding for a patient if their health information will be released, if the release will be limited and the circumstances that would trigger the release, and by whom (doctors, HIEs, etc.).

The next time you visit your doctor ask if they use an HIE and what are your options for consenting. Get more involved in your health care and become informed. Find a balance that’s right for both you and your doctor.

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There are no comments yet. Be the first and leave a response!

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HIE’s: How sharing info on health information exchanges is changing health care.

182269979_Doctor-and-patient-500pxWhat are HIEs & RHIOs ?

Unless you’ve had your head stuck in the sand, you’ve likely heard about Obamacare, otherwise known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and details of the new changes that are being implemented throughout our health care systems. This overhaul of our health care system is driven by a focused effort to reduce costs and identify methods to deliver new efficiencies. An area that promises to deliver just this is health information exchanges (HIEs). An HIE is a way to efficiently centralize and share health care information electronically across organizations, hospitals, or within a community. HIE systems do many things, including providing a total patient view electronically across health care providers. A primary benefit of this electronic sharing of information is how it enables physicians to provide a better continuity of care even when a patient is being seen across multiple providers. For example, a patient may have a disease like diabetes and regularly visit a specialist each month. The primary care physician and the diabetes secondary health care provider can share test results, lab reports, medication history, and other health care documents electronically. This removes the need to fax or mail healthcare paperwork. The HIE provides a more efficient model, provided that a patient consents to share all of their information. By doing so, it opens new electronic lines of communication between health care providers and can eliminate redundancies such as ordering duplicate tests.  In summary, it provides a more complete and up-to-date picture of a patient’s health.Currently in Rochester, NY, most of our major hospital systems are utilizing some form of an HIE and we also have a non-for-profit, community-run system called the Rochester RHIO (Regional Health Information Organization) working to connect health care providers and patients in our region. The Rochester RHIO is one of several regional RHIOs across New York State that provides a secure HIE. Our region’s community HIE has the highest rate of patient consent in the nation with RHIOs who have an opt-in model, currently 71 percent according to their website. So how does this all work and why should I provide my consent?

 

Patient consenting, how does it work and what’s in it for me?

The concept behind an HIE is that doctors get easy access to patient information and patients receive improved quality of health care, and ultimately lowered health care expenses. Other technologies are continuing to evolve and are providing additional services through an HIE. For example, some organizations are now utilizing “alerts,” which provide an electronic notice to primary care doctors when a patient has an emergency or is hospitalized. This technology enables doctors to provide better care and reduce hospital readmissions for patients. A recent article in Clinical Innovation & Technology explored how using an HIE for hospital alerts could save millions in hospital readmissions.

In the Greater Rochester community, we have seen widespread acceptance of HIEs with over 1 million patients providing consent for their doctor out of a total population of 1.4 million according to the Rochester RHIO. Furthermore, almost 300 physicians and 19 hospitals also share information within the local RHIO. For patients it all starts and ends with “opting in” and signing a patient consent form. While almost three-quarters of our local population has agreed to share through our RHIO, over 92 percent of patients say yes when asked to have their information shared through the local RHIO according to http://www.grrhio.org/. The gap locally between consented patients (71 percent) and patients when asked to consent (92 percent) could exist for a number of reasons such as lack of health care provider acceptance or awareness, privacy concerns, a desire for a limited consent, or a lack of patient awareness of HIEs and exactly what is being shared and with whom. While our region has seen incremental increases in consenting, other areas of the country lag behind.

 

What concerns are stopping individuals from consenting?

A lack of education on available options, trust and privacy concerns are all factors that keep people from agreeing to consent. Patient education and engagement are important first steps to achieve “meaningful consent.” This is achieved when a patient truly understands the full scenario. One ongoing debate among health care providers is finding a balance to gaining consent and access to patient information while also respecting a patient’s choice for what information they might want to share. This sharing of some information, but not all, often eliminates any efficiencies in an HIE model. For example, sometimes patients might desire limited or no access versus an opt-in for a complete blanket approval for consent. Many HIEs and RHIOs are striving to help patients to understand “meaningful consent” when it comes to data sharing. According to HealthIT.gov, consent decisions should include full understanding for a patient if their health information will be released, if the release will be limited and the circumstances that would trigger the release, and by whom (doctors, HIEs, etc.).

The next time you visit your doctor ask if they use an HIE and what are your options for consenting. Get more involved in your health care and become informed. Find a balance that’s right for both you and your doctor.

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How can we help you make change?

There are no comments yet. Be the first and leave a response!

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