Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Health Information Exchange (HIE)?
A Health Information Exchange is an electronic health information service that gathers patient health information from multiple health care providers who treat the patient and who participate in HIE services. HIEs allow your health information from one of your health care providers to be available electronically to your other health care providers if they participate in HIE services.
Texas Health participates in HIE services to include organizations like the following:
Why are Health Information Exchanges important and how will I benefit from participating?
HIEs give health care providers access to the patient’s health information for continued care and contribute to the coordination of care among various providers. This coordination should help the health care team meet your health care needs in a more effective and timely manner.
HIE services may:
- Reduce the possibility of medical errors due to incomplete or inaccurate information.
- Improve appropriate treatment recommendations.
- Improve patient-physician communications, as well as communications across the continuum of your care.
- Reduce the need for you to manually pick-up and/or deliver medical records.
- Reduce orders for duplicate test and procedures.
What do Health Information Exchange services mean to my provider(s)?
HIEs give providers convenient access to timely information about patients which helps facilitate decisions based on more comprehensive information. HIEs provide patient records containing information from all participating care points regardless of where the care was provided. They save the providers time in tracking down important patient information and give the providers additional information to consider in developing your treatment plans.
What types of information will be made available via Health Information Exchange services?
The following types of information may be included:
- Family/Medical/Surgical/Social History
- Test Results (Lab, X-ray, EKG)
- Discharge Information
- Vital Signs (blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, temperature)
- Providers Progress Notes
Are there costs associated with me sharing my information electronically?
No. There are no fees for opting in to these services.
Will sensitive information be included in health information exchange services?
There is specified information that requires additional authorization and will not be included in HIEs, such as certain mental health records, alcohol or substance abuse diagnosis and treatment information, HIV test results, and some occupational health records.
Are my records private and secure?
Yes. The privacy and security of your health information is very important to Texas Health. Information is encrypted during transmission of the information between systems, and health care providers have a secure login to access your information. Policies and procedures are in place to maintain the confidentiality and appropriate use of your information as described in the provider’s Notice for Privacy Practices.
Is my health information automatically shared with Health Information Exchange services?
No. Although your information is stored within electronic systems, Texas Health requires patient authorizations for your health information to be viewable within HIE services. When you arrive for an appointment or visit at a participating provider, you will be asked to sign an authorization which will allow you the option to opt-in to make your information viewable or opt-out to make your information not viewable. Care Everywhere may require additional authorization at the point of care by the sending organization.
To view a listing of the other organizations in which Texas Health exchanges information, click the following links:
The U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs requires you to opt-in to the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) Health program which will allow Texas Health to obtain your health information electronically. To sign up for VLER Health Exchange, click here for more information.
What are my rights? Can I choose not to participate in Health Information Exchange services?
It is your right as the patient to not share your patient information electronically with Health Information Exchange services. When presented with the authorization, you can elect to opt-out of HIE services. By opting-out, your Texas Health information will not be viewable to your future providers within Health Information Exchange services.
How does my choice to participate affect me?
Each of your providers who are participating in Texas Health's Health Information Exchange will obtain from you an authorization to opt in or opt out of the HIE services. If you elect to opt out, none of your information in that visit or any prior visit will be available for view by HIE participating providers. Your most recent choice controls all prior treatment information from all participating facilities and providers.
If I agree to participate, can I choose to opt out at a later time?
Yes. Participation in these services is voluntary, and you will have the right to change your mind at any time. If you decide to change your participation option, contact your provider, a Health Information Management (Medical Records) department at one of Texas Health’s facilities, or submit an online revocation request.
If I opt out and agree to participate at a later time, will my past medical history be available during the time I was not participating?
Yes. At the time you elect to participate in Texas Health's HIE services, your past and future information will be viewable by your providers.
As a legally authorized representative for the patient, am I able to sign authorizations for the electronic exchange of the records? (Ex. Biological Parent/Legal Guardian for minor, healthcare agent for activated Power of Attorney, etc.)
Can my spouse or domestic partner sign authorizations on my behalf?
No, not unless the person qualifies as the legally authorized representative.
If I participate, is there tracking of who accesses my health information and can I find out who has requested access to my health information via Health Information Exchange services?
Yes. Audit logs are available to track where, when, and how health information records are accessed. You have the right to request a list of the information accessed, the provider(s) who accessed your health information, and the relationship between you and the health care provider(s) accessing your information.
Can I receive a copy of the records that my provider obtained from HIE services?
Yes. To receive a complete medical record, please contact each facility that provided care to you.
Can I request changes to my health record or other information included in Health Information Exchange services?
Yes. If there is information within your health record that you would like amended, please contact the facility or provider’s office in which the original documentation was created.
Who should I contact if I have additional questions?
If you have questions about how your health information was used for your care, visit with your health care provider at any time.