Interoperability between separate entities has been a challenge for the healthcare industry since the inception of electronic health records (EHRs). In fact, different departments within the same hospital may use different, specialty-specific software that can’t connect with primary EHR system.
Many hospitals have established a health information exchange (HIE) or health information service provider (HISP), allowing organizations and practices to share patient information. This can be very useful for the hospital, but it does limit them to information exchange within a narrow group which is usually geographically focused.
By joining Georgia Health Information Network (GaHIN), hospitals and health systems can connect to a much broader range of organizations and improve the quality of care provided to patients. GaHIN is THE state health information exchange for Georgia, facilitating the real-time exchange of patient health data among physicians, hospitals, state agencies and other organizations.
Rather than build separate connections to a large number of different organizations, GaHIN delivers a “one and done” service. Hospitals and health systems that connect to GaHIN no longer have to worry about individual connections – instead they can exchange information through the Network.
While each hospital and health system must make their own decision on joining an HIE, the penultimate reason is to improve care quality. For example, an emergency room physician can use query-based exchange to access patient information such as medications, recent radiology images and problem lists, allowing the provider to adjust treatment plans to avoid adverse medication reactions or duplicate tests.