In The Know

etHIN Connects to Additional HIEs to Improve Patient Healthcare

The East Tennessee Health Information Network (etHIN) is now connected to and sharing health information with five other Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) across state lines, completing another successful step in the Patient Centered Data Home (PCDH) initiative.

The six HIEs, located in four states that are part of the I-75 corridor, are etHIN, in East Tennessee; Indiana Health Information Exchange (IHIE), Michiana Health Information Network (MHIN) and HealthLINC in Indiana; The Health Collaborative in Ohio; and Great Lakes Health Connect in Michigan. Work to connect with the Kentucky Health Information Exchange is continuing, and when finished, will connect and allow data sharing among seven HIEs in five states, achieving the goal of the PCDH Heartland Project.

The Patient Centered Data Home (PCDH) Heartland Project is the third and largest pilot for the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC), a national trade association for HIEs that is acting as the project lead. The PCDH vision is that clinical data should be available whenever and wherever care occurs, and be centered around the patient to improve patient care and quality.

etHIN has medical data on patients from across the United States who were treated by an etHIN participant while traveling in East Tennessee. Being connected to HIEs in other areas allows etHIN to notify the patient’s home Health Information Exchange that a patient living there was treated in the etHIN region. Knowing about medical events that occur outside their local area will allow the local physicians to build a more complete medical record and provide more informed care for their patients.

etHIN is also talking with HIEs in other states that border Tennessee about exchanging data. As these interstate connections are completed, healthcare providers in this region, as well as those other states, will have access to more complete medical data on many of their patients.

Individually, health information exchanges build robust connections and extensive medical data repositories within the regions they serve. By connecting one HIE region to another, the expanse of interoperability grows and begins to cover the nation, providing more and better medical data to providers, which should have a positive impact on the quality of care for patients.

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