Is It Time to Join a Health Information Exchange?

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Karen Utterback By Karen Utterback 
Former Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy, McKesson (Retired)

Home Health Agency Joins Health Information ExchangeAs homecare providers, we know the value of making a strong connection with a patient. We also realize, to some extent, the importance of connecting our business to the various entities we work with.

In fact, those business connections are becoming more important every day, and here at McKesson, we’re seeing many of our customers joining health information exchanges (HIEs). In some cases, they are sharing clinical patient data with a state, regional or private HIE. In others, they’re setting up a private HIE for their health system.

Specifically, healthcare providers can create a continuity of care document (CCD) that shows a patient’s problems, vital signs, medications, allergies and demographic information. The CCD can be shared with other providers via the HIE, and information like new conditions or medications can be added to the profile and shared.

Some platforms designed to connect homecare providers to HIEs also offer a way to connect patients and families to their healthcare providers by making a patient’s health record accessible via the web (using well-tested security). Once the patient establishes an account, the homecare agency can send secure emails to individuals or broadcast messages to a pre-defined patient population.

By connecting with other providers and patients over the web, homecare agencies can:

  • Improve relationships with community healthcare partners
  • Increase clinician satisfaction and productivity by providing easy-to-access information
  • Connect patients and their families to healthcare providers in a secure manner
  • Engage patients in their care process through easier provider access
  • Create an agency-branded web interface that increases patient satisfaction

Given how interconnected our world has become in the last few years, it makes sense for healthcare providers to step up their efforts in this area. And with strong benefits like enhanced collaboration and improved productivity, we expect to see many of our customers do just that.

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