Trendwatch Issue Brief 2: Sharing Health Information for Treatment

Health care services are delivered across a spectrum of providers and settings of care, including physician offices, pharmacies, labs, imaging facilities, hospitals and health centers. Providers’ ability to electronically exchange patient information and share information with patients is critical to improving the quality of care delivery.

In recent years, hospitals and health systems have significantly expanded providers’ ability to share and receive patient information from a variety of care sources, both inside their own hospital/health system and with unaffiliated hospitals, health systems or other care settings. However, barriers, such as a lack of interoperability, continue to prevent universal sharing and effective use of information. Interoperability refers to the ability of electronic systems to efficiently and correctly transmit and receive information without the need for manual entry or other intervention by an individual. Interoperability is critical to effective use of shared information for core hospital activities such as care coordination, patient engagement, quality improvement and ensuring patient safety.

This is the second in a series of issue briefs highlighting data from the 2016 AHA Annual Survey Information Technology (IT) Supplement for community hospitals collected November 2016 – April 2017. This brief focuses on provider sharing and use of clinical data and barriers to effective use of shared information.

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