Health information exchange can be defined as a regional partnership among autonomous healthcare institutions to share medical information. HIEs are normally categorized according to the way they are governed. There are HIEs that are controlled by nonprofit institutions while others are governed by a government body. With an ever growing American population, it is important to have a standardized mode of exchanging medical records within the healthcare system.
By employing HIEs, it is possible to increase safety in treatment procedures, minimize time for diagnosis, reduce medication errors as well make the healthcare system more efficient and productive. In many cases of emergency where a patient might not be in a position to speak, errors can be made in carrying out diagnosis, which is then followed by initiating a treatment procedure to a wrongly identified disease. The impact is felt most among the aging population as well as those suffering from chronic illnesses such asthma, cardiovascular problems, diabetes among others. That is why we need specialists who will help in providing the required medical information to healthcare providers on behalf of these groups of people, in a timely and more proficient way.
There have been notable progress in control of HIEs which has made it possible to evade carrying out duplicate tests in addition to decreased times of readmission of a patient to the hospital. It has been found out that healthcare providers save a significant amount of time in treating a patient whose data is in the HIE records. Consequently, there is enhanced patient satisfaction too.
However, it is worth noting that HIE consulting can be more enhanced if standardization is done. Institutions that provide HIE services are expected to adhere to the laid out standards so as to streamline the process of information exchange. Failure to do so, it would render the process as very cumbersome. This process can be related to the use of a certain language as a medium of communication among various communities. Usage of a common language is an important tool that enhances integration among people from different ethnic communities. Standardization aims at only improving the process of information exchange. It helps to increase the level of understanding among the many players within the healthcare system.
Besides having the department of Health and Human services as the main body that controls HIE consulting in the United States, there are other organizations within the private sector. The department is divided into ten regions that span across the entire United States of America. However, implementation and improvement of HIE services has taken longer in some states than in others due to diverse demographic factors.