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● Roundup: Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) HIEs facilitate more than

just data exchange HIEs can transform healthcare, experts say. By Phil Colpas

es (HIEs) on the back burner. But that’s not an option. Com- municating in a digital healthcare environment without HIEs is like trying to navigate a highway system without freeways. In a perfect world, HIEs would facilitate the sharing of data


between doctors’ offi ces, hospitals and laboratories; everyone with a viable need would share records, and security levels would be determined by the type of information and who was asking for it. T ese free-fl owing, robust systems would allow proprietary laboratory information systems (LIS), picture-archiving com- munications systems (PACS), EHRs and more from diff erent vendors and hospitals to communicate seamlessly. But if there’s one thing upon which we can all agree: T e world is far from perfect. Motivated by a governmental push, HIEs are happening; it’s up to the vendors and end users to fi gure out how to best facilitate the process – from develop- ment to selection to implementation and, fi nally, the logistics of day-to-day use. For our April issue, Health Management Technology reached

out to several industry experts to round up their perspectives on some of the major issues involved with successfully implement- ing and utilizing HIEs.

Sumit Nagpal, CEO, Alere Wellogic

Keys to HIE success, growth Many HIEs are capable of helping providers exchange elec-

tronic messages. It’s a step in the right direction and certainly a welcome use of technology when it’s 2 a.m. and emergency department clinicians are trying to fi gure out something – any- thing – about the health history of the unconscious patient who has just been wheeled through the double doors. But much more is needed to enable long-term, self-sustaining HIE success. Indeed, HIEs need to not only exchange informa- tion but need the “deep interoperability” that allows them to aggregate data, run business analytics queries, apply best practices from evidence-based medicine and then proactively deliver alerts

6 April 2013

ith all the talk about electronic medical records (EMRs), electronic health records (EHRs), ICD-10 and meaningful use, it’s tempting to put health information exchang-

and recommendations across an entire patient community. To enable this more sophisticated exchange, the following

are required: • Participants who are willing to exchange comprehensive and critical patient data, as they trust that secure messag- ing protocols that comply with all regulations will prevent unauthorized access to private information.

• Technology that supports “semantic interoperability” that stretches beyond simple data exchange to actually harmonize data from diff erent sources, making it mean- ingful for doctors and patients, rather than just moving the data around.

• Sustainable business models, ensuring that HIEs have the fi nancial resources needed to procure technical com- ponents and services required to seamlessly integrate all participants.

• Alignment on the concept of data sharing among compet- ing organizations, where leaders realize that exchanging information will result in the improved patient care that will be so critical under value-based purchasing models, while also addressing the underlying business needs of healthcare organizations.

With these elements in place, HIEs will realize success. Per- haps just as important, they will likely experience growth as well.

Bill Ho, president, Biscom

HIPAA fi nal rule increases need for security With this “Omnibus Rule,” which goes into eff ect later this

year, organizations that have worked as business associates for covered entities must now review and update their security poli- cies and procedures for handling protected health information (PHI). When sharing or transmitting PHI, additional security must be applied, or the risk of a data breach can have direct con- sequences, including civil liability and fi nes up to $1.5 million per breach or incident. To comply, business associates should: • Ensure their record-keeping practices are suffi cient to provide compliance reports to HHS;

• Be able to provide a PHI to patients who request it; HEALTH MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY

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