When patient data is complete, secure and accessible, everyone wins. Patients want access to their personal health records, and they want to make it easy for any relevant party within the continuum of care to access that information as well. Over 80% of adults in the United States want better access to health information for both patients and providers.

These trends will heavily impact the patient experience. It will also affect your reimbursement amounts and compliance requirements, thanks to legislation like the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).

If your practice is focused on growth, a solid health information exchange (HIE) system is essential. Enhanced data sharing is paving the way for new, secure tools that help providers improve outcomes while strengthening the patient experience and loyalty to individual practices.

Why Is Effective Information Exchange Important?

Information exchange is a foundational part of the biggest trends in the industry, impacting legislation decisions, reimbursement models and patient satisfaction. Here are some of the significant influences data exchange has on healthcare providers.

Compliance and Reimbursement Requirements

The importance of information sharing started to pick up speed in 2015 when MACRA began to incentivize high-quality care with financial benefits. It opened up Quality Payment Program options to facilitate better reimbursement amounts for quality care. In 2023, improvement activities — which may include bolstering your practice’s ability to communicate data to other providers, payers and state registries — accounted for 15% of payment adjustments provided under the merit-based incentive system.

In other words, improving your practice’s ability to securely exchange data with key stakeholders could increase reimbursement amounts from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS).

For example, the improvement activity “Care transition documentation practice improvements” requires eligible groups to submit a patient-centered action plan during the 30 days following a discharge. Doing so counts as a step toward MACRA compliance and will likely improve patient outcomes and satisfaction while assisting in transition of care efforts.

An important caveat to these merit-based programs is that they require extensive reporting. Your approach to health information sharing and health IT overall can help you increase reimbursements and collect the information needed for reporting to CMS. Plus, the improved capabilities of a connected system can help you offer better care, ideally leading to better outcomes and patient satisfaction levels.

Evolving Patient Expectations for Data Access

Today’s patients are highly interested in data availability, both for themselves and between their clinicians. Over two-thirds of adults want clinicians to exchange some data that federal policies do not currently require, like images and family medical histories. But privacy is still a top concern. Most Americans want to access health information on apps, but when they were told that federal privacy protections do not cover data stored on apps, the number of people with serious privacy concerns jumped from 35% to 62%.

While you cannot control the country’s legislation, you can control the capabilities of your HIE. Artificial technical, process or resource barriers are typically the most significant information blockers preventing data exchanges. Secure information exchanges allow you to meet patient demands that go above and beyond basic requirements and stay ahead of potential legislation that may appear in the future.

Control Capabilities Of Health Information Exchange

HIE can also streamline providers’ data-sharing workflows for easier communications with patients and other health care entities, like labs and pharmacies. A strong health information exchange can minimize the knowledge barrier by giving providers and patients greater context and background. For instance, a provider can make diagnoses based on a patient’s entire health history.

In light of these widespread views, it is important for providers to have a strategy in place for improving their connections to the outside world. HIE only works when the original data is robust, the network is secure, and clinicians prioritize information accessibility.

The Need for Modern Engagement Tools

Many smaller practices miss out on valuable patient engagement benefits because they do not offer modern digital tools. HIE is an important part of facilitating these connections. Some examples of how information sharing can be used for patient engagement include:

  • Offering text-based tools, like appointment confirmations or check-ins.
  • Making payments online.
  • Providing a secure messaging platform via email or a patient portal.
  • Submitting digital prescriptions and lab orders.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say that coordinating and managing health care is time-consuming and overwhelming, so whatever you can do to make that task easier goes a long way in drawing patients to your practice.

How Does Information Exchange Boost Practice Growth?

Information exchange is essential for all modern healthcare providers, but growing practices often lack the same resources as large, established enterprises. Data sharing facilitates access to more resources and allows smaller practices to offer the same advantages as the bigger players. The need for information exchange will only grow as reimbursement models move toward value-based care and legislation promotes connected health IT.

Staying ahead of new requirements, maximizing payments and improving patient satisfaction are all key benefits of information exchange. They support growth by improving efficiency, cash flow and quality of care.

Explore HIE Solutions From Tangible Solutions

Offering secure and reliable connections in healthcare IT can be challenging, but a professional team of integration experts knows what it takes to set your practice up for success and growth. At Tangible, we make information sharing simple for practices of all sizes. Our services allow you to rest easy with compliant transactions, modern tools and a more connected ecosystem.

Learn more about our Happe branded data solutions, or reach out today to talk to an expert!

Explore HIE Solutions From Tangible Solutions