Overcoming Health Information Exchange Challenges: Methods & Lessons Learned

health information exchange challenges

The acronym “HIE” refers to Electronic Health Information Exchange, which is an essential tool for the medical industry in pursuit of functional interoperability. A good electronic health information exchange process allows both patients and healthcare providers to securely access and share vital medical information.

Many offices are still storing medical information in filing cabinets, but saving data online helps patients and providers maintain more complete and accurate records. While HIE certainly leads to better record-keeping, the most important advantage is the ability to provide improved patient care. The availability of accurate records and the ability to share them securely helps prevent reentry of data, medication errors, and duplicate testing. Additionally, it can improve overall patient outcomes.

What are the Different Types of Electronic Health Information Exchange?

Direct Exchange:

Direct exchange is the ability to transmit information electronically between medical offices and providers, resulting in more seamless patient care coordination. Direct exchange is used when providers need to send discharge summaries, laboratory orders or other instructions to another provider. It’s also commonly used during the process of referring a patient to a specialist.

Patients’ health data can be transmitted reliably, safely and in an encrypted manner, complying with federal patient privacy laws such as HIPAA. According to the U.S. Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, using direct exchange when you need to transfer patient health data can help your organization meet incentive payment measures.

Query-Based Exchange:

Query-Based exchange is the ability to quickly find or request information from other medical providers in real-time. This type of health information exchange is most often used in unplanned or emergency care situations.

In a patient health emergency, medical professionals can access a list of medications, available x-rays, pregnancy information, and past diagnoses. This helps them act quickly and accurately with fewer adverse and unexpected reactions. This can be particularly helpful if a patient is in a compromised situation and cannot provide accurate information.

Centralized Exchange:

Centralized exchange describes the patient’s ability to see all their health data in one place. Consumer-mediated exchanges mean patients can control the use of data between their medical providers.

Patients can take a front seat to their health data management and can even help correct inaccuracies as they catch them. The ability of a patient to see an accurate picture of their care is invaluable.

Challenges and Obstacles to Successful HIE

Patient Data Privacy:

Many medical providers are concerned about security within the electronic health information exchange process. HIPAA does allow healthcare organizations, or “covered entities,” to participate in inpatient health information (PHI) disclosures for certain activities. PHI can be used for the purposes of patient treatment, payment, and other healthcare-related actions. Compliance with federal and state privacy laws is crucial during this process. This is why selecting a reputable, experienced vendor, such as Vyne Medical® is important.

ID Matching:

Patient identity matching has always been important to healthcare organizations. When patients’ names are changed or a nickname is accidentally used, organizations can run into record-keeping issues. The issue becomes a bit more unique when patient health information is shared electronically amongst providers. The best modern solution is to use electronic systems, such as the Trace® platform, that link data to the patient record and promote data integration and standardization.

Incomplete Records:

Incomplete records can be a nightmare for health systems. The lack of complete patient health data can be a cause of clinical inefficiencies. Standardizing and integrating with Trace can help remedy this dilemma. Trace has the ability to integrate patient health information with other systems, ensuring the right information is available to the right resources.

Trace’s export integrations transfer data from Trace to external systems such as an electronic health record (EHR) or document management system. Export functionality transfers both Trace transactions and indexed information to receiving applications.

Benefits of Successful HIE

Successful HIE implantation improves physician and patient communication. It also reduces inefficiencies and redundancies such as wasted visits, duplicate testing, medication errors, and inaccurate understanding of health data. By establishing an audit trail of activity, HIE can even lead to an increased rate of winning appeals and overturning denials.

Illinois’ largest Catholic health system, Presence Health, uses Trace to document and manage revenue for improved reimbursement, compliance, and quality assurance. The result has been an increase in health data accuracy, efficiency, better cross-team support, and reduced costs. Revenue cycle departments capture communication with physician offices and insurance companies, backing up activities and keeping staff connected across the continuum.

According to Paula Schmitt, Insurance Verification Manager at Presence Health, the Trace solution helps her team “be more productive while also keeping an audit trail of all our activity.” Without the recording capability Trace offers, Presence Health leaders say they would be at a much greater risk for denials and unsuccessful appeals.

Vyne Medical also offers Refyne™, a cloud-based platform that allows teams to receive and submit supporting audit documentation electronically. Refyne Denials Management can be used to “package” audit response documentation in an “electronic envelope” for an encrypted, trackable audit responses.

Getting Started with Successful HIE

Find out how Vyne Medical’s solutions can help optimize the patient experience for your organization. Contact Vyne Medical to schedule a call with one of our Trace solution professionals today.


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