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Expanding HIEs to Improve Healthcare Interoperability

Electronic health information exchange (HIE) has emerged as a vital tool as healthcare professionals explore ways to improve patient outcomes effectively and efficiently in order to promote value-based care.

Healthcare practitioners must be able to collaborate with and coordinate services with other care providers in order to coordinate care informed by precise patient information; this entails the exchange of sensitive, confidential patient information. Traditionally, these exchanges were done via fax or in-person deliveries, which slowed clinical productivity and delayed patient care.

Sharing information electronically is significantly more efficient. Disparate systems must be able to communicate with one another when a plethora of information critical to patient care is accessible. Electronic health information is required to make a synchronized healthcare system possible, secure, and safe.

Also required is writing progress nursing notes, which are legal records of the medical care a patient receives, along with details of the patient’s welfare and recovery.

In healthcare, HIE alleviate the stress of requesting patient information in inefficient ways. HIEs ensure that comprehensive patient data is available to healthcare providers who need it, whether through medical devices, wearables, various information systems, or patient portals, all while adhering to applied standards of use and HIPPA requirements.

Finally, this paradigm allows for seamless collaboration across a continuum of services, which is essential for high-quality, value-based healthcare.

Connecting Disparate Data Systems with HIEs

Authorized entities (such as physicians, caregivers, insurance organizations, or hospitals) can use HIEs Integration to exchange protected health information that is needed for patient care. Transmission and storage of medical data is achievable with HIE interface development when interfaced with diverse medical data management systems and data sources, such as:

  • Wearables and medical devices
  • Health-related software
  • Information Systems in Hospitals (HIS)
  • EHR/EMR stands for Electronic Health Record/Electronic Medical Record.
  • Information Systems for Laboratories (LIS)
  • Systems for Managing Practices (PMS)
  • Patient Management Software (PAS)

Without HIEs, a physician who wanted to access patient information from one of the databases above would have to go to each one independently to get the information they needed. HIEs create a more centralised data source, allowing care providers to make a single request to access and obtain patient data from many sources from the data’s final resting location in an EHR/EMR.

Interoperability Standards

Interoperability allows systems, apps, and devices to communicate with one another, unlocking enormous value-generating possibilities for healthcare providers. HIEs enable secure access to these value-generating healthcare data sets via Application Programming Interfaces (API). Patient data can be pulled from clinical data sources or repositories via REST, SOAP, and SMTP APIs and delivered to the healthcare destination that requests it.

The notion of sharing health-related information inevitably raises security and patient privacy concerns. Interoperability across HIE solutions is dependent on compliance with healthcare regulatory standards such as HL7 and FHIR because the security of sensitive patient health information is paramount in the healthcare industry.

These anxieties are understandable, but they can be readily dispelled. Privacy regulations can be used by healthcare software developers with extensive industry understanding to assure comprehensive electronic compliance.

HIE Coding

The semantics used in healthcare data sharing are codified by HIE Coding Terminology guidelines. Terminology, structured vocabulary, code sets, and categorization systems are among the standards developed by stakeholders ranging from the American Medical Association (AMA) to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Data pulled from patients must be able to be examined and interpreted by healthcare providers. The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) specifies that standards of usage be followed regardless of the application or vendor to ensure that data can not only be transmitted but also displayed in a comprehensible and correct manner.

During development, a wide range of pre-set HIE interface code standards must be followed, including LOINC, CPT, SNOMED, RxNorm, ICD-9, ICD-10, NDC, and other HIPAA-compliant clinical coding standards. Medical code interpretation ensures uniform identification of clinical statements when these codes are followed. Diagnoses and procedures are recorded using globally understood codes, which aid in the development of insurance claims and the calculation of precise copay amounts for patients.

Messaging via HIE

To communicate patient information over the internet to other healthcare providers, HIEs rely on safe, encrypted, and dependable transmission. The way data is presented has the potential to influence the type of care a patient receives. If medical practitioners are given patient information in a way that is imprecise or ambiguous, the likelihood of incorrect treatment increases dramatically.

Furthermore, architectures constructed using HTTP, FTP, MIME, or HISP message protocols are required for full integration across clinical data systems. CDA, CCD, X12, EDIFACT, and NCPDP are just a few of the pre-set HIE interface communications protocols and EDI tools that must be followed. With these clinical data interchange standards in place, EHRs may securely “push” data to the provider who requests it while avoiding data breaches.

Architectural Types of HIE

There are three types of HIE architectures, and all three exchange models are commonly utilized in healthcare systems to offer the best possible exchange architecture.

Direct Exchange 

Through secure electronic channels, directed exchanges are utilized to push information from one healthcare practitioner to another. Clinical information, medical encounter warnings, patient discharge information, test results, and other information can be sent by providers.

Query-Based Exchange

Providers can electronically seek patient information from other providers using “pulls” in query-based HIE exchanges. This type of communication is very useful in emergency situations or unexpected medical appointments.

Consumer-Mediated Exchange

Patients can acquire, manage, correct, and transfer their own personal health information using consumer-mediated exchanges. This information can be shared to providers and contains demographic, medical, and billing information. This sharing technique allows a consumer to update any incorrect or inaccurate medical history when they access their own health information to detect errors.

Models for HIE Deployment

HIEs can work independently (for a single healthcare institution), regionally, or as a hub for multiple networks. Within any given market sector, these three tiers frequently interact with one another.

Exchange Network

HIE networks are made up of numerous independent HIEs that serve patient groups. These networks are usually government-funded and operated and function at the federal or state level.

Regional Exchange

Regional exchanges improve connectivity and care efficiency in a given area. They are usually controlled by independent, non-profit health information organizations and consist of various health organizations within a certain area. The government or various non-profit organizations can also fund and administer these exchanges.

For total health information visibility, regional exchanges can connect local public health agencies, hospitals, and physicians, as well as national entities like insurance providers.

Private Exchange

Private healthcare organizations fund, run, and use private or proprietary HIE exchanges. They bring together clinicians and patients in a specific area and aim on enhancing the overall clinical performance of the organization.

HIEs and Interoperability in the Future

Individual practitioners and organizations may find it difficult to negotiate the variety of privacy rules that govern digital medical information transmission on their own. There’s also the issue of ensuring interoperability between different systems. Healthcare firms can use advanced HIE software solutions to not only securely communicate patient data, but also to increase overall productivity and profitability.

HIEs are altering more than just personalized patient care. Integrated HIE tools are currently being utilized to handle everything from full clinic workflows to regional outbreaks.

Because this industry is still in its early stages of development, it’s impossible to say what these applications will be capable of in the next five years. However, one thing is certain: these breakthroughs will multiply exponentially.

Interface Transport Service, Interface Messaging, Interface Coding Standards, HIE interoperability, data management, and patient portal solutions are all available from KPi-Tech.

KPi-Tech is proud of its HL7-compliant HIE software solutions, which enable complete interoperability across all medical data management systems. Our integration services have reached a significant milestone in supporting the storage and transfer of medical data with the following medical data management systems: Information Systems for Laboratories (LIS), Information Systems for Health (HIS), Electronic Medical Record (EMR) (EHR), Electronic Medical Record (EMR), Systems for Managing Practices (PMS), Patient Management Software (PAS), Personal Health Information (PHR).