Electronic Health Records

Integration & Interoperability News

ONC Report Upswing in Electronic Health Information Exchange

By Sara Heath

Health information exchange is a major priority in the healthcare industry as a result of the increased push for quality care at a better price under the triple aim.

electronic health information exchange HIE on the rise

According to a recent study by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), HIE is on an upswing between providers.

The study shows that in particular HIE is happening between doctors and their patients at an increasing rate. For example, in 2013, 46 percent of physicians shared electronic health data with patients, whereas 57 percent shared electronic health data in 2014.

Additionally, physicians are sharing information with patients via secure messaging (52%) and electronic health record access (47%). Both methods mark an increase in information sharing from 2013 when only 40 percent of physicians used secure messaging and 33 percent shared electronic health records.

ONC health information exchange study show that HIE is on the rise

HIE was less prevalent when exchange occurred from physician to physician. The study found that 42 percent of physicians reported sharing health information with other providers in 2014. Although this is an increase from 2013 wherein only 39 percent of physicians shared health information with other providers, the increase is less pronounced than with provider to patient exchange.

Furthermore, only one-third of physicians reported electronically sharing patient information with other ambulatory providers, and only 27 percent electronically shared information with hospitals.

The study also shows results for health information exchange amongst provider types, which appear less promising than at hospitals or ambulatory clinics. According to the ONC, information exchange only occurs at approximately 10 percent of home health, behavioral health, and long-term care providers.

Also notable is the likelihood of physicians to share information with physicians outside of their practices. According to the study, 11 percent of respondents were willing to share only with ambulatory physicians within the same practice, and 18 percent with hospitals within the same healthcare system.

Physicians also were not likely to share all types of health information. For example, only 30 percent of physicians reported sharing all kinds of information, including lab results, medication lists, medication allergy lists, patient problem lists, and imaging reports. However, 36 percent of respondents reported sharing at least one of those kinds of information. Consistent with other findings, respondents were more likely to share the information with physicians within the same practices than with those in another practice.

According to the authors, the increase in HIE is notable due to the national push for health information exchange. Because of the Department of Health and Human Services goal to transition from fee-for-service to value-based payments, there is a reported increased need for patient-centered care. HIE is a focal point of patient centered care because it allows all physicians to provide a singular patient with high-quality care with the proper medical documents, the authors contend.

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