How Health Information Exchanges Improve Patient Care
Nearly everyone has experienced how frustrating it is when healthcare records don’t follow you around, especially right now as COVID-19 continues and the flu season approaches. Indiana Health Information Exchange (IHIE), a nonprofit health information exchange (HIE), makes it possible for healthcare teams across the state to get the patient information they need to provide the best possible care.
Before getting into IHIE, it’s important to understand HIEs. An HIE allows doctors, nurses, hospitals, pharmacists and other healthcare providers to access and share essential patient health information securely and electronically. They were created to improve the quality and efficiency of patient care to ultimately save lives.
Despite advances in technology such as Electronic Health Records (EHRs), many medical records still exist on paper. When sharing those records via fax, mail or phone, it leaves room for medical and medication errors that can slow down the process for both providers and patients. An error can also have a significant negative effect on the patient’s health if they received incorrect medication or dosage amount.
IHIE was founded in 2004 as a nonprofit organization formed by the Regenstrief Institute, BioCrossroads and other healthcare and community organizations in Indiana. We enable hospitals, physicians, laboratories, payers and other health service providers to avoid redundancy and deliver faster, more efficient, higher quality healthcare to patients in Indiana.
IHIE operates the Indiana Network for Patient Care (INPC), the nation’s largest interorganizational clinical data repository, with participation from over 120 hospitals, 18,000 practices and 50,000 providers, and it includes data on more than 17 million patients. We electronically deliver clinical results to doctors and nurses and make the patient’s data available in hospital emergency departments, inpatient wards, outpatient clinics and other settings across the healthcare system.
When a patient is rushed to the emergency room and has a health condition, the doctor can easily pull up their records if they use our services to properly prescribe medication. IHIE offers its members customized products and services to improve interoperability and ensure seamless delivery with electronic solutions, including products aimed at improving the health of the individual patient, products that provide insight into population health, and services that enable government agencies and organizations to better support public health.
We have created an environment that organizes information around patients when and where they seek care and supports population and public health efforts that serve to strengthen our community. Today, by making information available to more than 50,000 healthcare providers in Indiana and neighboring states, we deliver services that make a real difference in health and healthcare.
Not all technology improves patient care, which is why IHIE focuses on integrating only the data needed with electronic health records, meaning providers will save time and can focus on what matters most, the patient in the office. We work to integrate patient data seamlessly into current workflows and systems to empower healthcare providers to make quicker, better decisions that ultimately help avoid mistakes and save lives.
John Kansky is the president and CEO of Indiana Health Information Exchange.