Health Information Exchange Process

Health information exchange (HIE) is a process that uses electronic resources for allowing healthcare providers and their patients to share, store, and manage health information safely. It has been concluded that the use of paper to store health information was unsafe and inefficient, and the use of HIE technologies could successfully eliminate possible risks and facilitate better exchange of health data (Williams, Mostashari, Mertz, Hogin, & Atwal, 2012). For the purpose of this assignment, it was chosen to evaluate the use of HIE in the context of the Australian health care system and to compare it with the use of such technologies in the US.

In the context of the Australian healthcare system, the question about the use of health information exchanges has been recently raised due to the need to optimize the way in which doctors and their patients communicate and share information with each other. However, in order to establish successful procedures for the use of health information exchanges, health care facilities will have to first make electronic health records mandatory for use (Herman, 2011). Another challenge associated with HIE introduction refers to the financial and logistical feasibility of interlinking hospitals with electronic service providers. This means that Australian hospitals require significant investment to facilitate the development of connections between hospitals and HIE providers as well as to educate patients and doctors.

InterSystems is a company that has taken the lead in developing a solution for Australian hospitals to connect patients and their healthcare providers. When using InterSystems, healthcare facilities can access and manage patient records while ensuring the continuous flow of data in an organized and useful way. Also, InterSystem allows Australian hospitals to receive patient notifications, collect data on the overall health of the population, and ensure the privacy of patients through obtaining consent from them. It is essential to note that the models of information exchange that InterSystems use allow healthcare providers to exchange information with facilities overseas (InterSystems, 2017). The procedures associated with the establishment of effective HIEs in Australia are similar to those in US facilities; however, the United States has been among the first countries to use such solutions and therefore has gone further ahead. For example, in California alone, there are more than thirty providers of health information exchange that link doctors with their patients. Some of them include Central Coast Health Connect, Hill Physicians, Hoag HIE, Huntington Hospital, and many more. The availability of a large number of HIEs across the United States shows that the current status of the country is associated with the increased awareness of the importance of HIE. Moreover, this means that US healthcare facilities can choose from a variety of information exchange providers based on their financial capabilities or patients’ demands.

Approaches to connectivity in Australia and the United States are extremely similar due to the overall similarities between healthcare systems. However, it is important to mention some key differences due to their influence on the procedures of health information exchange. While the US healthcare system is based on self-provision, the Australian system implies the involvement of both the private and public sectors (Carroll & Frakt, 2017). Because Australia provides inpatient care to all patients in public hospitals as well as pays for prescription drugs, its approach to connectivity regarding HIEs is likely to also focus on governmental funding. In the United States, it is the job of healthcare facilities to choose the most appropriate providers of HIEs to ensure the successful flow of information between hospitals and their patients. Therefore, in the United States, the approach to connectivity is more catered to the individual needs of patients.

On the national level, the United States is currently deeply involved in setting clear objectives for the successful exchange of health information, including the goal of improving patient outcomes. Also, the government invests in the development of new standards and policies for solving the issue of interoperability and reducing costs associated with the adoption of new HIEs (HealthIT, 2013). For starting a successful integration of HIE onto the everyday practice of healthcare facilities, the “US Congress allocated $548 million to distribute between states under the HIE Cooperative Agreement Program” (HealthIT, 2013, para. 5). This means that the Australian should also consider investing in HIEs for enhancing the effectiveness of such technologies and improving the overall health outcomes of the population.

Despite the fact that healthcare systems in the US and Australia have differences in their approaches to the sources of care delivery, both systems require the integration of HIE to improve the exchange of information between patients and their doctors or nurses (Ridic, Gleason, & Ridic, 2012). It can be concluded that the United States went far ahead in the development of a variety of HIEs in different states to cater to patients’ and providers’ needs. It is advised for the Australian government to follow the example of the US and allocate public and private resources to fund campaigns to create health information exchanges.

References

Carroll, A., & Frakt, A. (2017). The best health care system in the world: Which one would you pick? The New York Times. Web.

HealthIT. (2013). Health information exchange (HIE). Web.

Herman, B. (2011). 5 considerations on health information exchanges: What your hospital or health system needs to know. Web.

InterSystems. (2017). Information exchange. Web.

Ridic, G., Gleason, S., & Ridic, O. (2012). Comparisons of health care systems in the United States, Germany and Canada. Materia Socio-Medica, 24(2), 112-120.

Williams, C., Mostashari, F., Mertz, K., Hogin, E., & Atwal, P. (2012). From the office of the national coordinator: The strategy for advancing the exchange of health information. Health Affairs, 31(3), 527-536.