Health Information Exchange (HIE)


HIE is the coming together and joining forces of health resources and information between multiple healthcare entities. These entities can include health organizations across a geographical area, organizations focusing on a specific specialization, or some other subsection of healthcare where information exchange can be leveraged to improve the quality of care.


HIE's main focus is to cut down on the number of healthcare decisions that are based on non-empirical evidence, or have no basis in research. Health Information Exchange is a general term that does not specify exactly how this exchange occurs (non-standardized), only the implied benefits of the exchange occurring. HIE involves the collection of health information from multiple sources, and provides it to all members in a format that facilitates easy research and analysis.

The basic tenants of HIE form the basis for multiple health organizations that are currently being created. RHIO's (Regional Health Information Organizations) are geographically located entities that manage information exchange. These entities maintain a list of terms and methodologies that organizations who participate must follow. These methodologies allow the successful and accurate exchange of information, thus increasing the quality of healthcare that a patient can receive.


HIE's over time gain the ability to amass patient data and identify trends, and thus can help doctors correctly diagnose and treat patients. When health information is placed into a single system, the process of data mining becomes greatly simplified. Data mining enables researchers to "describe the past, and help to predict the future" (Prof. Ebrahim Randeree, FSU).

This capability can form the basis of a vast new industry of Health Exchange. Patients are the true beneficiaries of the information derived from these networks, because they have a higher probability of receiving the correct health care treatment, regardless of which doctor they visit. Doctors also benefit, because they will gain the ability to base their decisions on variables other than intuition, past experiences, and research journal briefs. Doctors will be able to have access to all the pertinent information that they need to make the correct decision for the patient. A whole new series of companies may emerge that also benefit from HIE. These companies will implement HIE as their primary purpose. They will pave the way in creating new rules by which information can be exchanged, standardize the processes, work to ensure privacy, and tie together the resources of hospitals and clinics. The allocation of $19 billion of the federal stimulus bill for the funding of health IT, and to encourage the adoption of electronic health records, is also expected to spur the development of more HIE's.

Web Resources:

Health Information Exchange)
Indiana Health Information Exchange
Michigan Health Network

Related Terminology:

Electronic Health Record - EHR
Evidence Based Medicine - EBM
Florida Health Information Network - FHIN
National Health Information Network - NHIN

Stimulus Funds Can Lead to Health Information Exchange Networks