FAQ

If you have additional questions, please email info@ihin.org or call us at 515-381-0359.

Privacy and Security

  • How much control does the patient have?

    You have the option to request that your health information not be viewable through the IHIN. This is called ‘Opt-Out’. Your health information will not be searchable or viewable during the time you are Opted-Out. You may opt back in at any time.

  • What principles of privacy and security will be followed?

    The privacy and security standards in place under HIPAA also apply to electronic health information. HIPAA is the regulatory minimum, state and local laws and regulations may supersede it.  State-of-the-art technological safeguards are adopted to ensure that only authorized individuals, like your healthcare provider, can have access to your health information.

Iowa Health Information Network (IHIN)

  • Will patients have access to the HIE?

    Patient access to the HIE is being discussed and planned by Iowa Health Information Network (IHIN). This may include a web-based portal where patients are able to view information from their providers, or it may include a link to personal health records.

  • Will image transfer be included in the HIE?

    Images (e.g., EKGs, MRIs, X-rays, etc.) can be sent via Direct Secure Messaging available on the HIE.

  • How would an HIE lead to less duplicative medical testing and a more efficient system?

    When each physician involved in a patient's care has EHR functionality and HIE access, all of that patient's data, medical tests and results are available for viewing. Tests that have already been performed may not have to be repeated unless they are dated or new developments warrant them. This allows the physician to determine further course of treatment more quickly, accurately and cost effectively.

  • How would EHR/HIE be useful in an emergency or a disaster?

    When someone needs care in an emergency, that person might be away from home and unable to communicate or remember key health information such as allergies, medical alerts, or the names and doses of prescription drugs. The Health Information Exchange (HIE) allows a provider to retrieve important medical information quickly to speed up the delivery of appropriate critical care and avoid unnecessary duplicative testing, which may prevent medical errors, and extra costs. In the case of disasters such as floods, tornadoes, or wildfires, paper records can be lost or ruined. Participating healthcare providers maintain the ability to access important health information about a patient from anywhere.

  • What information about the patient will be available through the HIE?

    Iowa e-Health plans to begin with exchanging continuity of care documents, which are summaries of patient records that include demographics, problem lists, recent procedures, allergies and medications.  Additionally, immunization records and lab results will be exchanged through the HIE.  Other services will be added as the HIE develops.

  • What is a Health Information Exchange (HIE)?

    A Health Information Exchange (HIE) facilitates the electronic movement of health-related information among healthcare providers and organizations according to nationally recognized data standards. HIE is also sometimes referred to as a Health Information Network (HIN).

  • What is Iowa Health Information Network (IHIN)?

    Iowa Health Information Network offers health information exchange services across the state of Iowa. IHIN aims to improve care, increase security, promote cost savings, streamline treatment and reduce medical errors through the secure exchange of electronic health information.

Electronic Health Records (EHRs)

  • Is there a way for patients to make corrections to their EHR?

    The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) provides patients the right to request amendments (corrections) to their designated record set.  Patients are encouraged to contact their medical provider directly to make this request.

  • How are continuity of care documents created?

    Continuity of Care Documents (CCDs) are a standard report created by most EHRs.  The HIE will provide the "hub" that will exchange the CCD between multiple healthcare settings.

  • How do EHRs and an HIE improve patient safety?

    When all of a patient's healthcare providers participate in the Health Information Exchange (HIE), each participating healthcare provider has access to all of the patient's records in the network. With complete information at the healthcare provider's disposal, better informed healthcare decisions can be made. Also, EHR systems can automatically alert healthcare professionals when there are allergies present or reactions between prescribed drugs. In addition, when medical information is stored electronically, problems with illegible handwriting in clinical notes and prescriptions are eliminated.

  • What types of information might be maintained in an EHR?

    Anything that can be maintained on paper medical records can be maintained in an EHR. An EHR is more than just a computerized version of a paper chart in a hospital or provider’s office. It’s a digital record that can provide comprehensive health information about individuals. EHR systems are built to share information with other healthcare providers and organizations – such as laboratories, specialists, medical imaging facilities, pharmacies, emergency facilities and school and workplace clinics – so they contain information from all clinicians involved in a patient’s care.

    From HealthIT.gov

  • Will there be a way to indicate what medications patients are prescribed?

    Yes, the goal is to offer a complete medical history including all prescription records shared by healthcare providers connected through the HIE.

  • What is e-prescribing and how does it relate to EHR/HIE?

    Electronic prescribing, or e-Prescribing, enables a physician to transmit a prescription electronically to a pharmacy. It also enables physicians and pharmacies to obtain information about a patient's eligibility and medication history from drug plans.

  • Aren't most doctors and other healthcare providers already using EHR?

    As of the most recent national data available (2015), 97% of Iowa hospitals have adopted certified EHRs and 81% of providers have adopted some form of EHR.

    From HealthIT.gov dashboard

  • What is an Electronic Health Record (EHR)?

    An Electronic Health Record (EHR) is an electronic version of a patient’s medical history, that is maintained by the provider over time, and may include all of the key administrative clinical data relevant to that persons care under a particular provider, including demographics, progress notes, problems, medications, vital signs, past medical history, immunizations, laboratory data and radiology reports. The EHR automates access to information and has the potential to streamline the clinician's workflow. The EHR also has the ability to support other care-related activities directly or indirectly through various interfaces, including evidence-based decision support, quality management and outcomes reporting.

    EHRs are the next step in the continued progress of healthcare that can strengthen the relationship between patients and clinicians. The data, and the timeliness and availability of it, will enable providers to make better decisions and provide better care.