Healthcare News & Insights

Private health information exchanges: Answer to interoperability woes?

Finding ways to improve interoperability is becoming a huge issue for hospital execs. As a result, more leaders are looking to private health information exchanges (HIEs) as a solution. 

488642435That’s one of the conclusions drawn in a new report by Black Book, a health care market research company, about providers’ adoption of HIEs in their operations.

Predicting more private HIEs

Currently, a large majority of providers, including about 70% of non-system hospitals, “remain meaningfully unconnected outside of garden wall electronic health records (EHRs),” the report notes.

However, the industry is putting a lot of pressure on facilities to use interoperability tools to help meet new value-based reimbursement standards and improve quality of care. Interoperability is also a key criteria for earning meaningful use incentives. As a result, about 60% of multi-provider networks and hospital systems said they would look into private HIEs to meet those expectations.

Additionally, private HIEs are an important tool for organizations undergoing new acquisitions or working as part of an Accountable Care Organization (ACO). Having the ability to cross-reference patient data is key to keeping quality of care high and operations working smoothly. According to the report, about 98% of respondents working for an ACO believe a private HIE will help them achieve their goals.

Researchers believe these factors will drive facilities to adopt private HIEs in lieu of government-based HIEs, which have been plagued by technical and sustainability issues. Additionally, the report predicts that payors also will begin incentivizing and driving HIE adoption.

Reduced repeat imaging

The Black Book report predicts that private HIEs will resolve facilities’ interoperability woes. However, even if interoperability isn’t a huge priority for your facility, there are other perks for adopting an HIE, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Managed Care, Clinical Innovation & Technology.

In this case, using an HIE helped prevent unnecessary repeat imaging procedures, such as ultrasounds, x-rays or mammograms, by 25%.

As researchers noted, repeated imaging can be costly and time consuming. The authors predict that between 9%-40% of medical images are repeated because providers don’t usually have quick access to patients’ previous imaging data.

However, in facilities that used an HIE, there was a reduced chance that repeat imaging would occur.

There are definitely benefits of adopting a private HIE for your operations. And, if Black Book is correct, HIEs will soon be a common electronic tool for providers and hospitals to leverage, similar to EHRs.

But that doesn’t mean all private HIEs are created equal. Hospital leaders who want to adopt private HIEs at their own facilities should spend time researching different products. Execs should consider how the systems will be incorporated into and improve the daily operations before making the switch.

It’s also important to join with your healthcare partners during this process to ensure your systems are compatible.

Subscribe Today

Get the latest and greatest healthcare news and insights delivered to your inbox.