HIMSS: HIEs making strides in provider support, security

Health information exchange (HIE) organizations are showing that they can be a support to providers, particularly in meeting Stage 2 of Meaningful Use, according to a new survey from the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

The survey, a follow-up to one from 2013, collected data from 19 of the original 23 participating public and private HIE organizations. It showed improvements in most areas, including increased computerized physician order entry, clinical decision support, summary of care records and patient reminders. Forty-seven percent offer patients access, compared to 32 percent in 2013; 79 percent now provide secure messaging, an increase from 59 percent last year. And 100 percent conducted or reviewed a security risk analysis in 2014, up from 87 percent in 2013.

In a related blog post, Mari Greenberger, director of Informatics for HIMSS North America, and Charlie Rogers, chairman of HIMSS HIE Committee and CEO of Core Health Technologies, noted that the HIEs were making progress in a relatively short time period, and that while the changes were not statistically significant, they were a "good representation of the HIO market."

"We believe the results from the 2014 follow-up survey provide further evidence that HIEs are demonstrating broad industry momentum," Greenberger and Rogers wrote. "HIEs are also attempting to deliver increased value--especially surrounding the Meaningful Use Stage 2 core and menu options, to providers, healthcare professionals, and most importantly, to patients," they wrote.

Data on HIEs remains somewhat mixed. While there is evidence that the exchanges do cut down on unnecessary duplicative lab tests because of the increased data sharing, some have had trouble getting off the ground and some HIEs have closed their doors, providing credence to Greenberger's and Rogers' quip "once you have seen one HIE, you have seen one HIE."

Several Republication senators have asked the Government Accountability Office to review the HIEs that had received federal money.

To learn more:
- read the blog post
- here's the survey