Health Information Exchange

Health Information exchange refers both to a process and an organization that facilitates that process. The process of health information exchange requires that everyone involved use a common technical lexicon. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology undertook an effort to reach consensus on definitions for the terms EHR, PHR, HIE and RHIO. Its two main objectives were to eliminate confusion around the terms and to provide health care stakeholders with a common understanding of the important components of the health IT infrastracture. The result of this effort is a report developed by the National Alliance for Health Information Technology (Alliance), under the guidance of BearingPoint, Inc. The report summarizes the deliberations and conclusions of the two work groups that were formed to gain consensus on the definition of these terms. To assist the work groups in reaching consensus, a comprehensive literature review was performed to identify existing definitions, and public forums and public comment periods were conducted to vet the work while in development. The effort ran from September 2007 through April 2008.

The following definitions are among those listed in this report.

Health Information Exchange (HIE)

The electronic movement of health-related information among organizations according to nationally recognized standards.

Health Information Organization (HIO)

An organization that oversees and governs the exchange of health-related information among organizations according to nationally recognized standards.

Regional Health Information Organization (RHIO)

A health information organization that brings together health care stakeholders within a defined geographic area and governs health information exchange among them for the purpose of improving health and care in that community.