Health information exchange can be defined as a regional partnership among autonomous healthcare institutions to share medical information. HIEs can be grouped according to their style of governance. There are those that are managed by nonprofit organizations while others are controlled by a governmental agency. With an ever growing American population, it is important to have a standardized mode of exchanging medical records within the healthcare system.
By employing HIEs, it is possible to increase safety in treatment procedures, minimize time for diagnosis, reduce medication errors as well make the healthcare system more efficient and productive. There are numerous emergency scenarios where a patient is unable to talk, thus it becomes easy to make a mistake during diagnosis, which translates to a wrong treatment procedure. The most affected group comprises of the elderly and those who suffer from prolonged sicknesses such as cardiovascular problems, asthma, diabetes among other diseases. This explains the reason as to why these groups of people require a specialist who will help to share their crucial medical information with the healthcare providers at the right time in a more efficient and effective way.
Advances in management of HIEs has seen the reduction in number of hospital re-admissions as well as avoiding carrying out duplicate tests. It has been found out that healthcare providers save a significant amount of time in treating a patient whose data is in the HIE records. Consequently, there is enhanced patient satisfaction too.
Nevertheless, it is important to note that HIE consulting can be greatly enhanced when standardization is done. Institutions that provide HIE services are expected to adhere to the laid out standards so as to streamline the process of information exchange. The process would otherwise be rendered tiresome if this is not done. This process can be related to the use of a certain language as a medium of communication among various communities. Use of a common language helps to foster integration among diverse communities that would have otherwise been unable to interact due to language barrier. The only major aim of standardization is to help enhance the process of exchanging medical records. It assists in improving the level of understanding among the different institutions that are involved in the healthcare system.
Currently, the department of Health and Human Services acts as the supervisory body that manages healthcare concerns for every American citizen, although there are still private practitioners who offer HIE consulting. There are ten regions that make up the Department of Health and Human services, which span across all parts of the United States. However, the process of implementing and enhancing HIE services to all citizens in the United States has not been uniformly realized.