What is Health Information Exchange and why is it important?
Health Information Exchange (HIE), is a way of securely sharing your health information among approved doctors' offices, hospitals, pharmacies, labs, radiology centers, and other health organizations. HIE allows delivery of the right health information to the right place at the right time, providing safer, more timely and efficient, patient-centered care. Through the HIE, doctors will have immediate access to important information. This will help with the collaboration and coordination of your care.
How does sharing health information improve patient care?
Health care providers need your health information to accurately diagnose and treat you. Each provider who treats you may have just a portion of your medical record. When your providers can access each other's records, they will have more complete health information and can provide you with better care. Sharing health information can eliminate unnecessary duplication of tests.
How is my privacy protected?
Information shared through the Local or State Health Information Exchange is protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 ("HIPAA"). HIPAA regulates the use and/or disclosure of your personal health information for purposes of treatment, payment, and operations.
HIE, participating providers, and health insurers use a combination of safeguards to protect your health information. Technical safeguards include encryption, password protection, and audit logs that track every participant's use of the system. Administrative safeguards include written policies that require limited access to information through HIE. All participating providers and health insurers must agree to follow these policies. All participating providers and insurers are also regulated by HIPAA, as well as other federal and state privacy laws. They must have their own policies and other safeguards in place, including policies to train their staff and limit access to those with a need to know the information.
Are there privacy risks?
Currently, your health information is shared between health care providers and insurers by telephone, fax, mail, or through limited computer networks. These processes take time and may impose a burden on you or your health care provider. An HIE allows one participant such as a physician to locate records from another participant such as a hospital in a matter of minutes. This can be critical in an emergency and result in your provider having a more complete and accurate health record.
Can I choose not to participate in the Local or State HIE?
Yes, you can choose whether or not to make your health information available to providers who participate in Local and State HIE, with the following exceptions:
You do not have to make your health information available through an HIE to get health care. However, if you choose not to participate in the Local and State HIE, it may affect what information your healthcare provider has available when providing your care. The benefits of the HIE will not be available to you. Your decision to restrict disclosure through HIE applies only to the sharing of information through HIE. Other methods of sharing health information between your providers or health insurers will not be affected by your decision.
- Your name, date of birth and gender will be available through the HIE.
- The indicator for sharing your health information will be set to "NO."
Who will have access to my information?
Health care providers and insurers in Florida that participate in an HIE. You can obtain a current list of participants at www.the-hie.com
. Participating providers (such as doctors, hospitals and pharmacies) and health insurers (for their own insured or for insured's in group health plans they administer) will have access for treatment, coordination of care, and health care operations. Local and State HIE staff and contractors will have access to provide technical and administrative support. Insurers are prohibited from using information available through the HIE for underwriting purposes.
What health information will be shared?
Authorized users of the Florida or Local Health Data Exchange can access your medical information including:
All records and other information regarding your health history, treatment, hospitalization, tests and outpatient care such as:
This information may relate to sensitive health conditions (if any), including, but not limited to:
- Lab and X-ray results
- Transcribed diagnostic and treatment records
- Medical diagnosis information
- Medication allergies
- Medicines you are currently taking
- Immunization history
- Drug, alcohol or substance abuse
- Psychological, psychiatric or other mental impairment(S) or developmental disabilities (excludes "psychotherapy notes" as defined in HIPAA at 45 CFR 164.501)
- Birth control and family planning
- Records which may indicate the presence of communicable diseases or noncommunicable disease; and, test for or records of HIV/AIDS or sexually transmitted diseases or tuberculosis HIV testing
- Genetic (inherited) diseases or tests
- Education tests or evaluations, including individualized educational programs, assessments, psychological and speech evaluations, immunizations, record health information (such as height and weight), and information about injuries or treatment
An HIE will hold up to seven (7) years of medical information and may include information created before or after your consent to participate.
The medication history available through HIE may contain drugs that indicate the presence of a substance abuse issue, mental health condition, and other conditions that you may consider sensitive. If you do not want this information to be shared through HIE, you should request to Opt-out from the disclosure of your health information. While access to your health information through an HIE is an important resource tool in caring for you, HIE does not take the place of your medical record.
How can I request to restrict disclosure of my health information?
Visit the HIE website, www.the-hie.com
, to find out how to Opt-out from participation. Your signature on a request to revoke restriction must be notarized. Be aware that when you Opt-out all the information that has been gathered by participating providers and health insurers since you made your request to participate will not be available for sharing through HIE except in situations where you may be involved in a life threatening event. You can also make the same request on behalf of your minor child/children.
Is there any time my health information can be accessed without my consent?
No, except in situations where you may be involved in a life threatening event. In this case, the emergency providers may query the Local and/or State HIE in order to obtain pertinent information in order to stabilize you. In all cases where access is made without the patient's consent; a full audit will be performed to validate emergency access was indicated.
Can I hold back certain records I don’t want my health insurer or other providers to see?
No. HIE cannot exclude specific visits, tests or episodes of care, specific providers, or health insurers. Restricting disclosure generally means that no one will be able to access your health information through HIE except as described in this brochure. If you don't want some or all of your information made available through HIE, you should consider requesting to Opt-out from participation.
If I request to participate (Opt-In), can I change my mind later?
Yes, you can change your mind and not participate (Opt-out) at any time. Visit the HIE website, www.the-hie.com, to find out how to Opt-out from participation.
Your signature on a request to revoke a restriction must be notarized. Be aware that when you Opt-out all the information that has been gathered by participating providers and health insurers since you made your request to participate will be available for sharing through HIE except in situations where you may be involved in a life threatening event.
Where can I get more information?
For local HIE information, please visit www.the-hie.com
For help understanding the State of Florida HIE and your rights, please contact the Florida Health Information Exchange at 1-888-810-1078 (Monday-Friday 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. EST) or visit the FL HIE Exchange web site at: www.florida-hie.net