Health Information Exchange

Health Information Exchanges (HIE) allow for the movement of clinical data between disparate systems; they enable providers to electronically share health records through a network. A universal exchange language is needed to assist health care providers in sharing health information in order to coordinate diagnosis and treatment, while maintaining privacy and security of personal data. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), along with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), initiated the demand for a universal language by defining the standard language and adding it to the Meaningful Use requirements for implementing electronic health records (EHR) in Stages 2 and 3.

From outside laboratories to other EHRs, a system must be able to interface and communicate with disparate systems and share critical patient data. Standards such as HL7 can provide solutions for systems to be able to send demographic data, or orders, out to other systems, as well as receive data from these and other systems.

An interoperable EHR and practice management system should also be configurable, which allows implementations to be managed without the need for a development-level of skill.

Industry events, such as the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) North America Connectathon 2011 and the HIMSS '11 Interoperability Showcase, are geared towards finding solutions to critical interoperability issues.

When searching for an EHR and practice management system, be sure to choose a system that is actively participating in these events, and that currently has the ability to interface with outside vendors and other information systems.

Does your system measure up?