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 those that are managed by nonprofit organizations while others are controlled by a governmental agency. The population of the United States is ever-increasing, implying that a standardized method of sharing clinical data is prudent within the healthcare system.
Use of HIEs allows for improved safety in treatment techniques, decreases time for analysis, minimizes medical mistakes and improves the proficiency and productivity of the healthcare system. 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 effect is felt most among the elderly people or those ailing from chronic diseases such as asthma, cardiovascular complications, diabetes among others. This shows how important it is to have experts who can share medical information to healthcare providers on behalf the chronically ill and elderly people, in a more timely and well-organized manner.
Advances in management of HIEs has seen the reduction in number of hospital re-admissions as well as avoiding carrying out duplicate tests. It has been proved beyond reasonable doubt that healthcare providers save a lot of time when treating patients whose information is in the HIE database. Subsequently, patients become more satisfied with treatment through the use of health information exchange.
Nevertheless, it is important to note that HIE consulting can be greatly enhanced when standardization is done. What HIE interoperability calls for is that organizations providing these services to adhere to the required standards so that the process of exchanging data can be more effective. When standardization is not done, the process would become very tiresome. A good example of standardization in HIE consulting is the use of a specific language for communication among people from diverse ethnic backgrounds. 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 assists in improving the level of understanding among the different institutions that are involved in the healthcare system.
The department of Health and Human services is currently the one that provides supervisory duties with regards to healthcare concerns of the citizens in the United States, although there are other players for HIE consulting that operate within the private sector. The department is divided into ten regions that span across the entire United States of America. Nevertheless, the process of implementing and improving HIE services to the American citizens has followed different growth patterns owing to the diverse demographic factors.