Whether you take “Health Information Exchange” to be a noun, a verb, or both, depends on your point of view about mobilizing healthcare information electronically across systems within establishments, serving communities, or between regions. In each case, the end-goal is the same: to make access and retrieval of clinical data easier for patient-centric care that is timely, efficient, effective, and safe, whether to individual patients, groups, or communities.
With the rapid growth of health informatics, much focus has been put on the adoption of electronic health records (EHR), but its important to remember that health informatics can include much more than EHR.
EHR systems make it easier to compare and analyze data to reveal trends and longer-term changes for a given patient. Collectively, electronic health records can also help to study group and population health phenomena.
It makes sense for EHR management systems to standardize the format of the records they hold, to make them easier to consult and share with other authorized entities. Likewise, the software and network interfaces in such a software system are also best standardized or at least made customizable to allow for connection to legacy systems and non-standard interfaces.
Over the next decade, we can expect to see profound changes in the delivery of healthcare. Driven not by a contentious political environment, but by new IT innovations that have the potential to lower costs and improve the quality of healthcare. These IT innovations are coming at a macro level, with larger sets of data available to research and develop new treatments and, at a micro level, transforming the care that patients receive from their providers.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently released its 2017 – 2020 IT Strategic Plan highlighting the key priorities of their $11 billion in annual IT spending. These goals were developed to support the key objectives of HHS to improve health care and scientific discovery. While there are five strategic goals, cybersecurity is core to the overall plan.
With the vast amounts of health data available today, health analytics can provide insights into what has happened (reporting), what will happen (predictive analytics) and what should be done right now (prescriptive analytics).