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Interoperability

Why Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) are Vital to Healthcare Today

By Muhammad Chebli

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Blog Home    Why Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) are Vital to Healthcare Today
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Health Information Exchange (HIE) is essential to the long-term national healthcare infrastructure. It allows healthcare professionals and patients to appropriately access and securely share a patient’s medical information electronically. Having a scalable, integrated, and intelligent information exchange can make a difference in times of calm and crisis. HIEs make aggregate data available to providers who need it at the point of care. The end goal is to ensure people can access data at the time that it's most needed. 

As the COVID-19 public health crisis continues, HIEs play an integral role in providing infrastructure and critical real-time information to communities. HIEs are beneficial in:

How HIEs can help you

If you are a healthcare provider on the front line of community care, it’s crucial to establish a relationship with state or local HIE. There is value that can accrue to you and your patients, as well as other providers and practices. Once you establish a connection with your HIE, you’ll open a world of connectivity to other hospitals, health systems, and your local health department. That’s the most important step as it will dictate future emergency response in a pandemic. 

I recently participated in the annual Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s (ONC) Tech Forum, where I discussed the value of systems security in a health information exchange.  Data aggregation is not simply about storing data to capture a larger part of the healthcare market—it’s about enabling providers to see a complete view of a patient’s record so they can provide a whole-person treatment plan. Interoperability services have been shown to improve patient outcomes, reduce overall healthcare costs, and minimize duplicate tests and procedures. 

Today, patients expect their doctors to have full access to their medical records, regardless of where they were previously seen. One way to do that is with a data aggregation and interoperability platform, such as a Health Data Hub (HDH). A connected health solution can help support the transformation of care and streamline essential health information exchange.

In August, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a notice of funding opportunity to expand and accelerate innovative uses of electronic health information via HIEs to support state and local public health agencies. Strengthening the health data exchange and use between HIEs and state and local public health agencies will help communities prevent, respond to, and recover from public health emergencies, including disasters and pandemics, such as COVID-19.  

NextGen Healthcare is a proud member of the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC) to enable the secure exchange of patient information to improve the quality, coordination, and cost-effectiveness of healthcare locally, regionally, and nationally.
NextGen Healthcare currently supports 25 percent of SHIEC HIE members through its NextGen® Connect Integration Engine (open-source Mirth connect integration engine) or NextGen® Health Data Hub platform.

To learn more on how to support physician alignment, read our recent digital guide, Better community-wide care with scalable interoperability.


Muhammad Chebli

Director, Interoperability, NextGen Healthcare

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