The role of HIEs in the daily lives of nurses

Every day, nurses require access to comprehensive patient health information. But with so much data available from disparate sources, can this information be presented in a way that is efficient and effective to use? Here’s where HIEs come in.

As health records and information have become increasingly digitised, the share amount of data being generated is rising rapidly. 

Electronic medical records (EMRs), patient-generated data, behavioural health data, and social determinants of health data are some of the many sources that can be used to determine the characteristics of patients and populations. 

This information can be used by nurses and other clinicians to inform their decision-making process on care. But with so much data available from disparate sources, how can this information be presented in a way that is efficient and effective to use? Here’s where HIEs come in.

Interoperability and HIEs

Every day, nurses require access to comprehensive patient health information. Thankfully, organisations are able to easily implement interoperable Health Information Exchanges (HIE) that enhance patient and population level views for nurses, and help inform decision making.  

Interoperability (the ability of multiple systems to exchange and use health information) regulations for HIE (systems used to transmit healthcare-related data between organisations) aim to open up the flow of health data.

Every day use for nurses

Easily accessible, comprehensive patient health information is a crucial part of achieving good health outcomes for patients, and HIEs are able to provide this for a number of common nursing scenarios.  

New patient encounter: Consider a nurse encountering a patient for the first time at the primary care clinic or hospital, who needs access to data that’s not included in the charting EMR. Having access to pertinent information from integrated views of multiple patient care records electronically would support decision making, and reduce time taken to source data, which may lead to a delay in care.

Complex chronic care: Patients in this category normally have more than two medical conditions and multiple care providers, each requiring a specific care plan. When there is access to complete data, through an HIE for example, nurses can better coordinate care.

Multiple caregivers and specialties: If patients are receiving care from other providers who are not using the same charting tool, the HIE can provide an overview of new elements of their care. Being aware that a new medication has been added by another clinician can prompt a nurse to take further action to advance their patient’s care – for example, testing to monitor the effectiveness of the new medication.  

Cohort management: A cohort is a group defined by shared characteristic, typically under the responsibility of a doctor or clinic. Data can help nurses monitor patients in a cohort, with HIEs providing visibility of care from all providers, remote monitoring devices and patient self-reporting to help nurses with their overall critical thinking and decision-making.  

To learn more read our recent whitepaper, A Nurse’s perspective on interoperability.

This whitepaper offers recommendations regarding the technology capabilities best suited to meet the needs of nurses on the front lines of healthcare. It takes a look into the expanding and evolving roles of nurses and offers a glimpse into some high-value nursing use cases that helps frame the substantial benefits of the right interoperability platform and the role of Health Information Exchange (HIE).



This is the fourth blog in the series. The previous blog looked at “What constitutes as high-quality data in nursing“.
The next in the series looks at “Improving the nursing experience with interoperability”