New North Carolina Law to Expand HIE Use

Effective Jan. 1, 2014, all hospitals in North Carolina with an electronic health record system are required to be connected to the North Carolina Health Information Exchange, the state-designated HIE.

The new requirement comes from the state's Health Care Cost Reduction and Transparency Act of 2013. This provision of the law aims to improve care delivery in the state while providing the state complete, up-to-date information to identify medical expense trends and gain a better understanding of how North Carolina's Medicaid dollars are being spent.

Hospitals with EHRs are now required to use NC HIE to provide the amounts charged to patients, Medicaid, Medicare, private insurers and state employee health plans for the hospital's 50 most common episodes of care.

Wider participation in the state HIE under this law is expected to help improve care delivery in the state, including improvements in quality and safety, according to NC HIE officials. Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of HIE participation, from reduced duplicate imaging to significant cost savings.

Currently, 10 of the state's hospitals are connected to HIE, though NC HIE officials believe the new law, along with other motivators such as the ability to improve care delivery, will continue to motivate hospitals to join.

"NC HIE has been working closely with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to improve the breadth of services offered to NC HIE participants in order to address the critical need for improved quality, safety and efficiency of healthcare delivery in North Carolina," says Chris Scarboro, CEO of NC HIE. "The enactment of this piece of legislation marks a collaborative move toward and support for a statewide network that will allow providers to securely access, exchange and analyze patient health data electronically."

More Articles on HIEs:

Massachusetts HIE-Connected Providers Now Able to Pull Patient Information
Michigan's 2 Largest HIEs to Merge
Fletcher Allen Health Care, Vermont IT Leaders Partner to Improve Statewide HIE

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