Health information exchange: Foundation for better care
Electronic medical records (EMRs) have become integral to the clinical practice of many physicians. More than 50% of office-based physicians were using EMR systems in 20102. The inefficient (and often illegible) paper-based medical record will soon be a relic of the past. However, as pressures mount on health care providers to become more accountable for the continuity and coordination of patient care, the limitations of an EMR become clear. As the Internet amplifies the power of the personal computer and software applications, health information exchange (HIE) empowers the users of connected EMRs with broader, richer sources of information. When the timely and efficient exchange of clinical information occurs across multiple systems within the community, more informed patient care decisions and care coordination can be achieved. We will describe health information exchange, its vital role in care coordination, and the value that patients and health care systems derive from this technology. We conclude by exploring the future of HIE as the health care industry strives to fulfill the promise of a national health information network.
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