Over the years, there has been steady, but slow progress of health information exchange in health IT. The progress has been particularly positive for care coordination. CMIO of Baylor College of Medicine has revealed that care coordination has been affected negatively by several factors, but Electronic Health Record (EHR) implementation and health information exchange have countered the effect of those factors.
The motivation factor behind success of HIE has been the incentives payments under the Meaningful Use program. This has led to the adoption and implementation of EHRs at practices that has encouraged data sharing and improved healthcare.
Exchange of information has been particularly beneficial for primary care practitioners. Baylor Clinic is a specialist practice that provides healthcare services to large number of patients every day. They receive many new patients referred to them by their primary care physicians. Practitioners at the clinic say that EHRs have made it convenient for them to access information of the new patient on a click of mouse. Before starting the patient exam, physicians have the entire history in front of them – family history, prior surgeries, medication, treatment, allergies etc. which makes it easier for the specialist to make their diagnosis and prescribe treatment.
Specialists at Baylor Clinic believe that information exchange through EHRs has improved coordination and communication between physicians, resulting in reduced cost of medical care. Patients do not have to go through lab tests every time they consult a new physician, neither do they need to go through medical procedures from the scratch.
Information exchange through EHRs has been equally beneficial for primary care practices. Normally, primary care physicians see 20 to 30 patients daily. Part of these patients comes for post-hospital or post-surgery visits. With the help of EHRs, primary care physicians are able to provide patients with necessary care, based on their medical history.
Health information exchange through EHRs has been able to repair care coordination and communication between physicians and other stakeholders in the health industry.