I have been discussing the issue of Health Information Exchanges alot lately: seems pretty critical to how the Obama-care plan will work in the real world. Wikipedia defines them as
the mobilization of healthcare information electronically across organizations within a region, community or hospital system.
HIE provides the capability to electronically move clinical information among disparate health care information systems while maintaining the meaning of the information being exchanged. The goal of HIE is to facilitate access to and retrieval of clinical data to provide safer, more timely, efficient, effective, equitable, patient-centered care. HIE is also useful to Public Health authorities to assist in analyses of the health of the population.
HIE systems facilitate physicians and clinicians meeting high standards of patient care through electronic participation in a patient’s continuity of care with multiple providers. Secondary health care provider benefits include reduced expenses associated with: duplicate tests, time involved in recovering missing patient information, paper, ink and associated office machinery, manual printing, scanning and faxing of documents, the physical mailing of entire patient charts, and manual phone communication to verify delivery of traditional communications, referrals and test results.
A blurb from Modern Healthcare hit my inbox about proposed regulations for these HIE’s:
The exchanges are a central component of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and aim to provide subsidized coverage to at least 16 million people who have lacked coverage at some point in the past year.
The proposed rule spells out requirements states must meet if they opt to launch an exchange, or online marketplace of qualifying insurance plans. The federal government will launch exchanges in states that do not do so by 2014. The regulations also outline the minimum coverage health plans must provide in order to participate in any exchange.
“I think what the regulation sets out is a framework that says every state may choose a little bit different option,” HHS Kathleen Sebelius said in a news conference at a Capitol Hill hardware store. “We sent out some minimum standards, but the fact that some states may choose the active purchaser, like Massachusetts, and other states may use an open market, like Utah, is perfectly allowable and flexible,” she added. “And again, I think it’s important—these are choices of private insurers in an active market. This is not government insurance. It really is the private plans and again that’s really going to be a state-based stratetgy and choice.”
Finally, the proposed regulations spell out which companies may purchase coverage for their employees through the exchange. The healthcare reform law allows both individuals and employees of firms with 100 or fewer workers to purchase coverage—usually subsidized by taxpayers—on the exchange.
Steve Larsen, deputy administrator and director for CMS’ Office for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, said at Monday’s news conference that states will still have the option of developing their own exchanges even if they are not prepared for a federal review in January 2013.