Community Record of Care for Accountable Communities of Health

March 27, 2017

Why an HIE?


Written by Krista Navarro


One question that I have received while onsite with providers talking about MIN-NS Health Information Exchange is “Why an HIE?”. This is a great topic and worth sharing some of what I have discovered since working with Medical Information Network-North Sound.  When I first started with MIN-NS it was a learning curve.  I came from working in Medical Device Sales so I had some understanding of the inner working of medical community.  To which how technology was advancing the exchange of data between providers had been limited to the brief encounters I had had with clinics electronic health record software.  Once I began learning what MIN-NS was providing to care teams in our region it made me more and more anxious to share with clinics and hospitals how the HIE benefits not only patient care coordination but reduces medical costs for patients and more. 

What is an HIE?  An HIE by definition is a Health Information Exchange.  These networks are bringing disparate electronic health records into one unified view.  What does that mean? Well if a clinic is using one type of EHR software (out of hundreds to choose from) then those records must be scanned and sent electronically or faxed, both to which have security risks and are time consuming.  An HIE has a “feed” or tunnel that integrates into the clinics EHR pulling the data from the software into the HIE. This allows clinicians that are provisioned to access the ability to view these records almost instantly.  A real world example is an Emergency Department at a hospital has treated a patient, the primary care provider that sees this patient in separate practice.  This PCP can now log into the HIE and view the dictated note from the ED provider almost instant from the ED visit.  Medications, allergies, labs, reports and demographic data is at the fingertips of providers and care teams. 

MIN-NS HIE has been recognized as a front runner in the development and deployment of this access to the medical care community in which it serves.  Last year MIN-NS received a certification from the eHealth Exchange this allowed the DoD to send and receive Patient Health Information for military service men and women.  As MIN-NS expands the footprint and network participants within the HIE we strive to reach out to the providers and care teams that can utilize the clinical data available for better patient care and reduce medical costs (repeat labs, readmissions). 

Why an HIE? I have found from user feedback an HIE is a tool that empowers providers and care teams with instant access to a patients full electronic medical record.  An HIE is technology at its best; promoting patient care coordination for better outcomes and a healthier community.