Expanding Quality Healthcare Through Health Information Exchange

By Pam King, health IT outreach coordinator, Agency for Health Care Administration; a HIMSS Non-Profit Partner and National Health IT Week Partner

During National Health IT Week, champions from across the industry are uniting to share their voices on how health IT is catalyzing change in U.S. healthcare. The following post from a National Health IT Week Partner is one of the many perspectives of how information and technology is transforming health in America.

Pam King

The health information exchange (HIE) landscape in Florida continues its journey toward interoperability. The promise of HIE is to fill information gaps and ease workflows, offering practitioners fresh solutions to navigate a healthcare landscape rife with new and demanding challenges.

The Florida HIE, under governance by the Agency for Health Care Administration (Agency) is focused on expanding quality healthcare through provider engagement and innovative HIE solutions.

Advanced and cost-effective technologies are now becoming the industry standard allowing HIEs to shift to solutions guided by provider workflow, information gaps and utilization patterns. In thinking about utilization and the broad spectrum of available technologies, it is helpful to view HIE by levels of exchange. Not all technologies make sense for all providers, and finding a good fit is key. Understanding your organization’s capabilities can help identify what HIE services will work successfully given resource requirements for implementation and training, and the amount of workflow adaptation needed. These considerations must be balanced by potential improvements in patient care and the ability to achieve a return on investment.

HIE on a basic level includes services or capabilities such as secure email and ePrescribing. Moderate levels of exchange include the automated push or consumption of health information through alerting services or having patient records available via connections between organizations. The most advanced level of exchange is a fully automated integration of data from one disparate entity to another.

Creative approaches to exchange are developing with new and unique solutions for provider-identified information gaps in interoperability. The flagship service offered by the Florida HIE offers payers and providers a way to be notified of their patients’ hospital encounters throughout the state. Currently there are 215 hospitals providing real-time inpatient and emergency department admission and discharge data, covering 95 percent of all short-term acute care hospital beds in Florida.

With appropriate authorization, physician practices, hospitals, accountable care organizations and health plans can receive notifications of patients’ hospital encounters through the system. Data provided through the system allows physicians to plan transitions of care, reduce inappropriate or unnecessary hospital admissions, and increase primary and specialty care visits. While the simplest implementation of the system would fall within the moderate level of exchange, there are substantial opportunities for a high level of integration utilizing the system – making this a versatile option for healthcare providers throughout the state seeking to increase care coordination and promote better patient outcomes through HIE.

Balancing physician needs, patient expectations, and organizational resources is no small challenge, but HIE solutions throughout the nation are poised to address these considerations in the coming year more adeptly than ever before. Throughout 2018, the Agency will continue its ongoing efforts to understand stakeholder needs and demonstrate how Health IT can support better healthcare for all Floridians.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog or by commenters are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of HIMSS or its affiliates.

National Health IT Week | October 8-12

Healthcare Transformation | Access to Care | Economic Opportunity | Healthy Communities

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