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Health Information Exchange, Its Role and Importance for the Healthcare Sector

Identify the principle barriers to health information exchange. What impact do these barriers have on health information exchange?

The use of technologies to facilitate health information exchange and improve results is considered the future of the healthcare sector. Unfortunately, several principle barriers might deteriorate the results of the process and slow down the speed of this technology implementation. The first barrier is the resistance to change among health workers who are not able to reconsider their functioning and adhere to the new technologies (Williams, Shah, Leider, & Gupta, 2017).

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It can have a pernicious impact on the health information exchange because of the sabotaging of new methods and their disregard. The second barrier is the lack of financing devoted to the replacement of old approaches with the innovative ones (Williams et al., 2017). The use of health technologies can be comparatively costly and demand large investments at the initial stages. For this reason, some health facilities lack the needed resources to foster the use of technologies.

Finally, IT-related barriers can also be considered a factor that has a pernicious impact on health information exchange. In some cases, workers do not possess the needed computer literacy skills or lack the understanding of how the system of electronic records works (Williams et al., 2017). Moreover, software used for health information exchange needs maintenance. The combination of these factors deteriorates results of the technologys implementation.

Describe the critical role of health information exchange in patient care at an organization level (across all facilities), statewide level, and national level. How do the goals of each vary and how is quality of care enhanced?

At the moment, health information exchange plays a significant role in patient care as it contributes to the better organization of the treatment process across various health units. The use of electronic records helps to collect all data about particular cases and use it the most efficiently. At the same time, if a patient needs care or service that cannot be provided at this very unit, he/she can be transferred to another hospital (Vest & Abramson, 2015). All information about the used medications and other peculiarities of treatment can be provided to colleagues by using health information exchange and medical records in the electronic form. The given mechanism also works at the statewide and national levels.

Nevertheless, at the two last levels, new goals emerge. It is critical to collect statistical data about the prevalence of particular diseases, their spread, and the number of patients suffering from them. In such a way, health information exchange can be used to provide information to national centers responsible for the creation of records and guidelines resting on different cases, recommended treatment, and other services provided to patients (Vest & Abramson, 2015). Information exchange becomes a potent tool that helps to accomplish this assignment.

Consider security and privacy within the health care system. What are the most common causes of health information system breaches, and how can these be prevented?

There are several the most common causes for the emergence of security issues regarding the health information system. The first one is human error. In accordance with the statistics, about 33% of all breaches become possible due to the pernicious impact of the human factor on the functioning of the system and its efficiency (Kruse, Smith, Vanderlinden, & Nealand, 2017). The lack of computer literacy along with the poor understanding of how the system works creates the basis for multiple problems. There are cases of misdelivery of information, wrong distribution, and loss (Kruse et al., 2017). These can be prevented by additional training for the staff.

Another common factor is the misuse of information or so-called privilege abuse (Kruse et al., 2017). A health worker can be provided with access to private patients data to perform various activities and organize care; however, he/she can also use it for wrong purposes. Finally, there is also a possibility of theft. Records or laptops containing the critical information about patients and their cases can be stolen because of the pieces of data that can be found there. The given accidents can be prevented by improved security measures and better control of the work of employees who have access to data.

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Which data elements of the patient record are considered protected health information (PHI) and which record types across the EHR system are considered PHI? Provide reasoning and examples

Protected Health Information is all pieces of data related to the health status, peculiarities of care, or payment patterns that can be associated with a certain individual who asks for health assistance (Bennett et al., 2015). For this reason, all facts belonging to the categories mentioned above are protected by the health facility and existing legislation presupposing respect for anonymity and confidentiality. The exiting HER systems include this sort of data, which can be used to monitor the state of patients and provide them with the needed care (Bennett et al., 2015). At the same time, there is also information about treatment, time, state of the body, and other aspects that can be used by patients to trace their health status and its alteration in the course of treatment.

Altogether, PHI can be considered a part of EHR systems that contain personal information about patients, their treatment, and alteration in states. All these types of data should be protected as they can be used against clients (Bennett et al., 2015). At the same time, individuals have the right to secure their privacy, which also means that there is the necessity of the improved security measures to avoid leakages and align efficient data exchange.


Bennett, T., Dean, J., Keenan, H., McGlincy, H., Thomas, A., & Cook, L. (2015). Linked records of children with traumatic brain injury: Probabilistic linkage without use of protected health information. Methods of Information in Medicine, 54(4), 328-337. Web.

Kruse, C., Smith, B., Vanderlinden, H., & Nealand, A. (2017). Security techniques for the electronic health records. Journal of Medical Systems, 41(8), 127. Web.

Vest, J., & Abramson, E. (2015). Organizational uses of health information exchange to change cost and utilization outcomes: A typology from a multi-site qualitative analysis. AMIA Annual Symposium Proceedings Archive, 2015, 1260-1268. Web.

Williams, K., Shah, G., Leider, J., & Gupta, A. (2017). Overcoming barriers to experience benefits: A qualitative analysis of electronic health records and health information exchange implementation in local health departments. The Journal of Electronic Health Data and Methods, 5(1), 18. Web.

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