AHRQ guide aids primary care docs in connecting to HIEs

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality recently published a new guidebook to help primary care physicians join and use health information organizations.

The 50-page guidebook--Regional Health eDecisions: A Guide to Connecting Health Information Exchange in Primary Care--was written for AHRQ by the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and the Norman Physician Hospital Association. It is intended to help integrate health information exchanges into clinical practices and provider workflows.

"As information systems continue to advance, we believe that more EHRs will need to exchange data with RHIOs and health care organizations will want patient-centered, evidence-based, decision support healthcare software provided by RHIOs," the authors state in the guidebook.

The book covers the "entire process" of connecting electronic health records to HIEs and regional health information organizations, including planning, the technical process of joining an HIE, implementing clinical decision support and connecting clinical decision support services to an aggregate HIE data base via the Preventive Services Reminder System. It contains tips, case studies and links to additional resources.

AHRQ, a division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, has invested over $300 million in contracts and grants to address its health IT initiatives. A number of projects funded relate to improvement of EHRs and patient care, including programs on clinical decision support, quality measurement enabled by health IT and electronic prescribing. 

To learn more:
- here's the guidebook (.pdf)