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About Health Information Technology

Health Information Technology (Health IT) refers to a wide array of technology systems that store, share, and/or analyze health-related information enabling healthcare providers to better manage patient care through the electronic creation, use, maintenance, and exchange of health-related information. This information is sometimes created in the form of Electronic Health Records (EHRs), which differ by vendor platform, payor, provider, and facility. Health IT infrastructure often includes interoperable systems known as Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) that are established by a health care provider, payer, or that connect participating health care providers or payers to ensure the secure digital exchange of health information among participants engaged in patient care.

Health IT Goals:

1. Improving Population and Individual Health Outcomes
2. Enhancing Consumers’ Experience of and Access to Care
3. Creating Value for High-Cost, High-Need Consumers

What is an EHR?

Electronic Health Records (EHR) are electronic systems used to store and share health-related information that are created and managed by healthcare providers or payers. A Personal Health Record (PHR) is like an EHR except that the patient controls what kind of information goes into it and who can access it. 

What are the benefits of EHRs?

EHRs improve care quality and coordination. EHRs obviate the need for patients to fill out their medical history multiple times for multiple providers. EHRs can include X-rays and blood work that both you and your care team can access from multiple locations, thereby preventing the unnecessary duplication of imaging tests and lab work. Patients with EHRs no longer have to carry their paper medical charts with them from one appointment to another, or worry if a fax from their primary care provider arrived. 
EHRs and HIEs make it easier for patients and family members to participate in discussions about their care with their medical providers. Establishing a HIE network across the District will support providers with their efforts to meet the requirements such as transmitting summary of care information, performing medication reconciliation, and reporting clinical quality measures.

What is an HIE?

HIE is a term used to describe interoperable infrastructure that provides the technology, processes, and operations needed to facilitate the secure exchange of health information between provider organizations, District agencies responsible for public and population health, and other stakeholders on behalf of patients. 

What are the benefits of HIEs? 

Health Information Exchange (HIE) offers providers and payors a window into the complete patient record. HIE is an important tool that improves care coordination, allows patients to avoid having to repeat tests and procedures, shifts the burden of relaying medical histories from the patient to providers, ensures that all of a patient’s healthcare providers have more complete information, improves health outcomes, and reduces the projected future costs related to treating and managing chronic disease. 
Many organizations around the District have invested in Health IT solutions to support the electronic documentation and management of PHI. Through its HIE Policy Board, DHCF convenes stakeholders to assess how DHCF can best facilitate HIE in the District. 


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