By Linda Stotsky, Healthcare Consultant, LSC Consulting
The value of HIE rests in its promise to coordinate and improve care delivery across the healthcare continuum, through improved coordination between providers and healthcare organizations. The challenge remains in our ability to implement a standardized, patient-centric, interoperable HIE that collects information from all providers and organizations across the patient continuum, with a reliable and secure IT infrastructure. With this in mind, the following are my predictions for HIE over the next year:
HIE Acceleration: Accountable, value-based care will drive HIE innovation in 2013. According to HIMSS research, “The new delivery models that align incentives with value rather than volume will not be possible without a widespread robust HIE.”
Nationwide Interoperability: As we move forward with HIE acceleration, we must consider greater accessibility from within all EHR systems. A strong foundation of interoperability is critical to addressing the new, connected healthcare ecosystem and support healthcare’s strategic goals. Organizations such as HIMSS and the National eHealth Collaborative are addressing and identifying barriers to interoperability and widespread adoption, standardizing the flow of secure information across primary, specialty, acute care, and transitional provider settings.
Disaster Response: When Hurricane Sandy was flooding large areas of New York City in late October, the Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY) was functioning more or less undisturbed, fostering a smooth continuity of care at hospitals receiving patients from evacuated areas. The ability to link multiple providers and organizations across vendor software platforms through a statewide HIE will continue to be a critical component of emergency response in 2013.
mHealth: Patients’ digital health records have moved away from desktops and laptops and toward mobile health devices and applications. As a result, HIEs are looking at mobile apps for patient access. 2013 will be the year we see secure, encrypted access to state and regional HIEs via mHealth devices.
Finally, 2013 will see a greater need to secure sensitive data such as mental health and chronic disease without compromising the patient. HIEs will implement safeguards against potential breaches, securing computers through appropriate access policies and written procedure. HIE will continue to advance in 2013, leading the way to a safer, more valuable exchange of information dedicated to the global improvement of patient safety.