Informatics Specialty

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Informatics Specialty Area and Interoperability
Grand Canyon University: HIM-515 Foundations and Concepts of Healthcare Informatics June 20, 2012

Informatics Specialty Area and Interoperability
As the implementation of electronic health records (EHR) progress nationwide, the concepts of interoperability and health information exchange (HIE) must be discussed. The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (2005, p. 2) define interoperability as “the ability of health information systems to work together within and across organizational boundaries in order to advance the effective delivery of healthcare for individuals and communities.” Interoperability is the enabling of two systems, including those that do not share the same interfaces or functionalities, to share and exchange data. HIE is the actual process of the exchange of health data. Through the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) created the State Health Information Exchange Cooperative Agreement Program, in which incentives are provided for HIE on a state level, across the United States. In this paper, the authors will describe interoperability within all groups (public, clinical, ancillary, software/medical device vendors and other health care informatics groups), discuss the potential benefits from exchanging information, outline the risks of exchanging data with partners, and describe a marketing approach that would encourage healthcare vendors to exchange data. Interoperability across the Continuum of Care

Healthcare interoperability is a fundamental requirement in the exchange of healthcare data between systems. Healthcare interoperability includes data exchange, infrastructure interoperability, user interface interoperability and process interoperability (Glaser, 2011). Healthcare providers need to have the ability to share medical records, prescription histories, lab results, imaging and clinical notes across the healthcare continuum. In the United States, Americans have the ability to choose their healthcare provider and where they chose to receive their healthcare services (Brailer, 2005). With choice comes fragmentation in care which results in duplication of services, errors, increased expense and a lack of continuity. The development of standards is essential; identified are the important standards: International Classification of Disease (ICD), Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine (SNOMED), Logical Observation Identifiers, Names, and Codes (LOINC), Health Level 7 (HL7), National EMS Information System (NEMSIS). Standards need to be developed to protect the patient’s privacy and to ensure that content is standard for all patients, every time. Currently, across the continuum of healthcare these standards can be overlapping and can have an inconsistent elemental design. Interoperability in operation will connect healthcare networks in real time across the continuum which will reduce errors, minimize duplication of services and decrease expenses. Benefits of Health Information Exchange

Health Information exchange provides benefits for all parties involved. One of the greatest concerns with the technology and patient health information is security. HIE allows for protection of health information. The sharing of health information electronically allows for information regarding access of health records. The access of health records is monitored and can include the person or persons that access the record, the date and time, and what information was accessed. This monitoring allows for an increased regulation in laws governing access to patient health information. Other benefits of HIE include access to health information in an emergency situation, the protection of health information in a disaster, decreased duplication of tests and orders, decreased medical errors, and improved continuity of...
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