Mar 22, 2023

Health Information Bi-Directional Exchange is Transforming the Health and Medical Industry


The healthcare industry has undergone several changes, but one of the drastic ones has been storing and handling information and data. In the previous years, patients’ records were strictly limited to pen and paper forms, subjected to displacement, damage, invasion, etc.

This system was gradually overtaken by digitizing and storing records on digital storage platforms. However, there seemed to be loopholes and issues with storage, access, and the exchange of patient information.

That is when Health Information Bi-Directional Exchange comes into the picture. This valuable solution represents something as close as healthcare interoperability. The following article will give you in-depth knowledge of how the landscape of the healthcare industry is transforming with the help of BHIE.

What are the Impacts of Bi-Directional HIE?

Until a few years ago, the healthcare system heavily relied on paper record-keeping. The electronic shift brought with it many massive changes. With the gradual use of Electronic Health Records (EHRs), hospitals have experienced a safer and more efficient tracking and record system with timely access and coordinated care.

Imagine a real scenario where a patient is rushed to urgent medical care at a different place from their routine medical visit. Thankfully, with the help of healthcare data interoperability, the new medical staff can easily access the patient’s medical history from their previous physician or hospital.

That is how an ideal medical system should function where a patients’ information should automatically follow them to all of their different healthcare providers. It also enables them to stay informed and provide immediate treatment in case of emergencies.

Also Read: Important Medical Database Format Types and Their Benefits

Healthcare data interoperability is also beneficial in

  • Helping reduce duplicate testing
  • Helping avoid medical errors
  • Helping avoid readmissions
  • Helping improve decision making
  • Improving care coordination

How is Healthcare Data Interoperability Being Improved?

Transitions, especially on such a big scale, are never easy. There have been many complications in transitioning from the recording system on paper to EHRs. Many healthcare providers have felt frustrated over this change.

Many clinicians and healthcare providers have also suffered excessive workload because moving the medical history, and other data of several patients is not as seamless as technology may make it look. After all, they’re only humans.

To address these challenges and enable smooth health information exchange concerning healthcare interoperability, the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016 was brought into action. With the help of this act, the following priorities of interoperability were made easier

  • Improved data sharing across different networks
  • Reduced information blocking
  • Enhanced and trusted exchange of framework and a common agreement for transition between healthcare information networks
  • Access to health information through smart devices

With the onset of the Cures Act, clinicians’ and healthcare providers’ regulatory and administrative burdens have significantly reduced. A healthcare system with a proper flow of information and data that securely and safely reaches various healthcare providers is beneficial in providing coordinated care and reducing costs.

What Does Health Information Bi-Directional Exchange Measure?

In an ideal state, when a patient moves from one healthcare provider to another, their medical information should flow seamlessly with them through health information exchange. It enables better treatment and coordinates care for the patient. The providers are also better equipped with the patient’s medical history and other data.

However, up until now, hospitals and clinicians have taken charge of only two Health Information Exchange measures. These measures are considered unidirectional because the information flows in only one direction.

  1. The patient’s health information sailed out of the hospital or physician’s EHR to another care setting.
  2. The patient’s health information sailed into the hospital or physician’s EHR from another care setting.

The new measure will enable hospitals for bi-directional health information exchange in the current scenario. Hospitals no longer have to stick to the last two measures of HIE.

To sign up for this measure, all that hospitals and other healthcare providers have to do is attest to either “Yes” or “No.” Once they attest to “Yes,” their participation in this bi-directional HIE will be enabled, and they will be able to access this measure for every patient.

If healthcare providers attest to “No,” they will have to continue with the last two measures of HIE.

Should You Consider Bi-Directional HIE?

Although the answer to this question depends upon your hospital’s current situation but considering bi-directional HIE for your hospital will give you effectiveness and efficiency that can’t be matched with unidirectional HIE.

Here are some exceptional benefits of switching to this measure of HIE that will help you consider making the transition.

  • Bi-directional HIE is associated with improved performance. It improves hospital readmissions, ICU and ED admissions, and therapeutic medical procedures.
  • It also helps reduce total costs of care, lab test costs, image testing costs, and overall measures.
  • It is associated with improved medication facilitation, health record completeness, and reduced care disparities.
  • It is linked with improved immunization rates for many people with reportable conditions, identification of drug-seeking behaviors, etc.

This list is still not inclusive of all the benefits of transitioning to a bi-directional HIE. Imagine, if all the advantages of this measure are holistically understood, hospitals will be able to benefit from these on such a large scale!

In the long run, this measure can allow healthcare providers, hospitals, and clinicians to reduce the excessive and unnecessary burden they currently have to experience with the existing measures.

The possibilities, options, and advantages of this measure are endless. However, each provider or hospital will have to analyze which option is better for them to meet the HIE requirement.

The good news is that this measure of HIE is gradually becoming more prevalent. With the improved operational efficiencies, reduced healthcare costs, and better patient care, the medical and health industry is gradually taking baby steps.

Wrapping Up

The health and medical industry have a long record of benefits from technological advancements, and bi-directional HIE is another added measure!

The future of this measure looks promising, with the features getting bigger and better every step of the way. Accessing patient information and health history has never been easier!


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