Just a few years ago, HIE systems were akin to the Holy Grail of the EHR landscape, an ideal resolution to the quest for improved data sharing that appeared out of reach but was still the overarching goal of most providers. With the rapid rise of EHR infrastructure, led by government incentives that have enabled innovation, and the recent release of Stage 2 meaningful use standards, HIEs no longer look so unreachable and are emerging as more common data sharing solutions.
Now that HIEs are more accessible, the number of healthcare networks establishing new HIE infrastructure or joining existing systems is rising. This is leading to a fresh wave of innovation in the sector that could rival the initial rise of EHRs when it comes to the overall improvement to patient care. However, leveraging HIE technology to dramatically improve doctor-patient interaction is dependent on intelligent healthcare system integration that overcomes the inherent challenges in HIE setups.
The core problem with HIEs is ensuring that data is kept accurate across diverse EHR systems. Essentially, a Meditech EHR that handles patient data at a large hospital needs to communicate with another facility’s Siemens HCIS, and vice versa. To accomplish this, healthcare organizations need to have flexible integration technology to support the different data transmission and receiving needs. While HL7 transmission protocols have standards, in order to ensure systems can communicate effectively with each other, data will need to be manipulated to meet the needs of the receiving systems. Flexible and robust interface engine technology will be essential to ensuring hospitals have the control at their fingertips to connect all their systems effectively and streamline sharing of patient data.
During the past few years, many medical providers have moved from the initial establishment of EHR infrastructure to deploying integration solutions that allow diverse EHRs to communication. This has not only led to more communication between hospitals, clinics and physician offices, but has also established a firm foundation for more HIE deployment. The industry is now witnessing the results of that solid core as more providers have the tools they need to make advances in HIE infrastructure.