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Agency Name AZ.gov Arizona's Official Web Site
State of Arizona
Health Information Exchange
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FAQs - Patients and Families

What is Health Information Exchange (HIE)?
The term health information exchange (HIE) actually encompasses two related concepts:
Verb: The electronic sharing of health-related information among organizations.
Noun: An organization that provides services to enable the electronic sharing of health-related information.

Can anyone see my personal health information on the Internet?
No. Your medical information is kept private and secure. Only authorized healthcare providers can view information on the HIE.

How do I know my information is kept private and secure?
State-of-the-art systems are used to secure records and prevent access by unauthorized persons. All systems must comply with the security rules of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). State laws and regulations are often more strict than the minimum security requirement set by HIPAA.

What types of information might be shared in an HIE?
An HIE may share clinical information such as test results, current medication, allergies, and other clinical information vital to your care. Certain demographic information used to identify the individual, such as name, birth date, and address, might also be shared.

What does this mean to me?
Participating in an HIE—that is, granting consent for the HIE to share your health information among your healthcare providers—offers major benefits to you and your family. Benefits include:
  • Emergency Treatment: The HIE allows medical staff to know immediately about your allergies, health problems, medications, and prior visits, helping them care for you without delay.
  • More complete and accurate information: HIE gives your care providers greater access to the medical information history needed to diagnose your health problems and recommend the best treatment. They will know more about you and your health history before they recommend treatment.
  • Improved Care: Access to information about care you received elsewhere gives a better, more complete picture of your health and provides information needed to provide the best care possible. That means your care providers can make sure the treatment they give doesn’t interact badly with other treatments you may be receiving. For example, when you can’t remember what medications you are taking, HIE can make information about your conditions and medications available to your doctors, so they will know the right thing to do instead of doing something that might be harmful.
  • Patient empowerment: You can take a more active role in your health and in the health of your family. You can receive an electronic copy of your medical information and share it securely over the Internet with your healthcare providers.
What does HIE mean to healthcare providers?
  • A complete record improves communication between you and your doctor. Your physician can send you reminders about scheduled appointments and tests, review your test results, and create a better profile of your health when he or she can share your information through an HIE.
  • Through an HIE, your care providers and their staff can securely review your key health data and eliminate the need to complete the same forms over and over again.
  • Access to your complete clinical information will assist your care provider in giving you high quality care.
  • Healthcare providers need access to as much useful information as possible while treating their patients. Viewing your complete medical history—including lab history, medication, and immunization histories—helps your care provider make better decisions about your care.

What types of questions should I ask my doctor about HIE?
  • Is my health information automatically shared in the HIE?
  • Who controls my information? Me, the HIE, or my doctor?
  • Do I have to take action to not participate?
  • Do I have to share mental health, drug abuse, or other sensitive data?