HIMSS Analytics: Successful HIE requires paper-based strategies

Despite increasing participation in health information organizations (HIOs), challenges persist in the collection and sharing of patient data, according to a report from HIMSS Analytics.

An online survey of 158 senior hospital IT executives conducted in May and June 2013 shed light on two challenges facing HIOs: difficulties in exchanging patient information in robust, meaningful ways and failure to exchange information outside of its parent network due to budget limitations and staffing resources.  

Over 70 percent of respondents reported that their organization was part of an HIO, meaning they exchange information with other hospitals and health systems. Approximately half of those respondents reported improved access to patient information, but said that it did not result in robust data sharing.

Other findings include:

  • 64 percent of the HIOs reported that sharing data with hospitals not participating in an HIO was conducted via fax
  • 63 percent of the same HIOs processed faxed information into an electronic format via scanning
  • 84 percent of respondents integrated their output/print environment with their EMR/HIS system
  • 42 percent of respondents characterized their output/print environment as “high effort”

Those surveyed said they were concerned with strategies that relied heavily on faxing, with 22 percent indicating that Meaningful Use would have a high impact on this mode of HIE.

“Based on high participation numbers, hospitals clearly understand the value of electronic sharing of health-related information among organizations and the important role it can play in improving the speed, quality, safety and cost of patient care. But meaningful engagement between healthcare organizations and easy ways to share patient information, both in paper and electronic formats, still remain a challenge. We hope this new report will shed light on those issues and help IT professionals integrate their HIE strategies with their output/print environments,” said Jennifer Horowitz, senior director of research for HIMSS Analytics, in a statement.

To request a copy of the report, go here.