Accessing and retrieving clinical data in a convenient and timely manner is crucial in the healthcare industry, particularly in long term care environments where residents need immediate and continuous care. This can become time consuming as the unaffiliated provider may require a detailed background of the resident’s health, including current medications, previous surgeries, allergies and so forth. But, with Health Information Exchange (HIE) organizations, healthcare providers (such as acute care facilities) can electronically receive a resident's medical records from other healthcare providers (such as nursing homes).
HIE allows nursing home staff to electronically move clinical information among various healthcare information systems. With the ability to access and retrieve clinical data, HIE leads to safer, fast and more effective care for nursing home residents. The electronic system allows a facility to access a resident's information including allergies, prescriptions, medical history, and even the results of a medical exam. In addition, HIE improves resident care and safety, reduces the likelihood of duplicate services, cuts costs by allowing automation of administrative tasks, and provides management in the exchange of data. HIE also allows for electronic prescribing, electronic lab ordering and results delivery, and electronic public health reporting.
In order to provide a more structured and organized function for exchanging healthcare information, formal organizations are continuously developing on an independent and regional level. The Regional Health Information Organizations (RHIO) is a health information organization that brings together various organizations from specific geographically defined areas to share and exchange healthcare-related information electronically.
RHIO helps residents in various situations. For example, if the resident is sent to the emergency room but cannot remember what medication he or she is taking, the doctor can retrieve this information from the RHIO. Also, with RHIO, the resident can avoid taking lab tests as often since a doctor can receive his or her test results from the RHIO.
The HIE and RHIO provide LTC solutions to nursing home residents.