Health Care Information Exchange

Health information exchange describes the process of mobilizing health information through electronic means across various concerned organizations within a given hospital system, community or region. This process involves moving clinical information through different health care information systems while ensuring that the integrity and meaning of the information is maintained exactly as it was in its original state. The smooth and seamless exchange of clinical data and information is critical for delivering high quality health care information.

Why it’s Important and How the Government is Promoting It

Health information exchange describes the process of mobilizing health information through electronic means across various concerned organizations within a given hospital system, community or region. This process involves moving clinical information through different information systems while ensuring that the integrity and meaning of the information is maintained exactly as it was in its original state. The smooth and seamless exchange of clinical data and information is critical for delivering high quality care. Thus it also plays a major role in determining the effectiveness of organizations.

Although the advantages of efficient sharing of health care information among concerned parties, including patients and physicians and other authorized members are understood and desired by most people who are involved in health care system, very few organizations have actually gone ahead and taken full advantage of the technological progress made in the area of health informatics and computer science. Health care information exchange involves various technology based systems like interoperability, business information systems, standards utilization, and harmonization. All of these need to be established on local, state and national level to provide a seamless network of information.

According to David Blumenthal, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, if a standardized system of electronic health records can be put into widespread use it can lead to highly improved levels of efficiency and patient safety, and significantly better quality.

An efficient information system has got several benefits to offer to all parties involved in the field of health care whether they are service providers or consumers. It allows health care professionals to conveniently access and retrieves relevant and complete medical data which helps them in providing patient-centered care that is more efficient, effective and timely. A well established health related information exchange system would also provide public health officials with a ready and in-depth database of public information which they can reliably use in analyzing health of the population effectively.