At its core, Health information exchange is the Electronic movement of health information among organizations according to nationally recognized standards. The goal is to bring an individual’s health information to the point of care whenever and wherever it is needed. For example if need medical care, your medical information travels with you no matter which provider you go to. If you have a small medical practice, you can benefit from electronically sharing patient information with hospitals, labs, pharmacies, and other physician practices while remaining independent and in control of your practice’s patient data.
The single connection to the HIE hub provides access to a wealth of information, offering bi-directional workflow and full participation in the healthcare community without the cost and management of building separate interfaces.
A product that enables medical practices to exchange health information is called EHR (Electronic Health Record). Some of the vendors in this area are NextGen, AllScripts, Medisoft. There is a stimulus incentives from the government between $44,000 and $64,000 (beginning in 2011) to switch to EHR.
In summary, one thing for sure is that we all can expect a lot of changes in this area in next couple of years. Healthcare landscape as it exists today will not be the same. Healthcare industry has been slow to adapt technology but not using technology will not be an option anymore.