Communication barriers in the healthcare industry are a decades-old problem. For health information exchanges (HIEs), the most prominent of these barriers is information blocking.
Information blocking is a practice most commonly used by electronic health record (EHR) vendors and health systems to prevent or interfere with the access to, exchange, or use electronic health information.
In a recent study conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA), HIEs across the U.S. shared their observations of information blocking behaviors from healthcare “actors,” including the extent to which they exist.
Since HIEs are tightly tied to facilitating information exchange and work closely with EHR vendors and health systems, they are in the best position to report behaviors hindering interoperability. HIEs indicated that both EHR vendors and health systems sometimes, often, or routinely engage in information blocking activities including setting high prices, using restrictive contract language, artificial barriers, and refusing to export patient data at a provider’s request.
However, HIEs reported unreasonably high prices as the leading information blocking behavior, with 82% indicating that they sometimes or often observe vendors practicing this form. This is a huge red flag since many HIEs will not afford patient medical information if vendors continue to practice high pricing.
The ability to share patient data without any barriers blocking participating health care providers from ensuring patients receive value-based at every point along the continuum is critical. HIEs offer a digital solution to information blocking through interoperability. As new healthcare technologies continue to advance, HIE organizations are promoting interoperability to meet new regulations and improve patient experience.
With stiffer information blocking regulations on the rise, HIEs have the opportunity to better monitor health care actors practicing these behaviors. By better understanding the full implications of information blocking, HIEs will address persistent pain points affecting medical providers and patients from achieving interoperability.
By adopting and optimizing interoperable HIEs like Centralis Health, medical providers and patients can seamlessly access health information they not only need but deserve. Centralis Health strives to reach nationwide interoperability. Educating medical providers and reporting health care actors engaging in these behaviors is the first step towards decreasing information blocking practices. Centralis Health encourages fluid information sharing so providers can deliver more effective care tailored towards a patients’ unique medical needs without having to hurdle over barriers to access patient health records.
Looking towards the future, HIEs are the solution to significantly decreasing the amount of information blocking flooding the healthcare system. With their innovative software solutions, HIEs improve workflow, increase efficiencies, and securely share disparate medical records, creating a better healthcare experience for everyone. HIEs should continue participating in studies and reporting information blocking behaviors to help the healthcare sector better understand where new regulations are having an impact and where challenges still persist.