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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Health Information Technology

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How Can Health IT Help to Coordinate Care and Services?

You can use various clinical information systems to help coordinate HIV/AIDS care and services.  These systems include an EHR for the entry and documentation of patient records.  Other systems, such as computerized provider order entry (CPOE), may be included as part of the EHR system or used on their own. They can help you to coordinate your patients’ care as they transition from one provider or facility to another.  Better care coordination will improve the quality of care you provide and reduce the possibility of medical error.  

EHRs can provide you with the ability to share a patient’s medical records with his or her other providers.  The electronic transfer of this information is especially important when information is needed quickly, for example, when a patient presents at the emergency room or when you care for a patient recently released from the hospital.  Regional Health Information Organizations (RHIOs) and Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) are working to support health data exchange among providers.  Also, ONC and the CMS EHR Incentive Programs are working to standardize data and technologies so that different EHR systems can share data and medical information.  In most cases, the electronic exchange of data is quicker, more efficient, complete and accurate than written, fax, or telephone communications.  

The use of EHR technology for care coordination is a prominent goal of the EHR Incentive Programs.  Several objectives of the Stage 1 Meaningful Use criteria focus on improving care coordination.  They include:  

  • exchanging key clinical information among providers of care electronically
  • reconciling medications prescribed across setting of care
  • offering summary of care records to other providers

EHR technologies that have been certified by ONC will provide you the technical capability to meet these objectives and to report these measures to CMS or to your State.  

Although sharing patients’ health information with other providers for treatment and care coordination purposes can vastly improve the quality of care that you provide, you must ensure that patients’ confidentiality and privacy are respected.  You will need to protect patients’ personal health information from inappropriate use and disclosure and you must allow only those providers who are directly involved in the patient’s healthcare to view or receive information on their HIV/AIDS status.  

Related Resources:

Healthcare Information and Management Society (HIMSS) Health Information Exchange go to exit disclaimer– This webpage on offers an overview of RHIOs, HIEs, a useful list of links and industry tools, and an educational tool page.
EHRs and Care Coordination in the Ambulatory Setting go to exit disclaimer– Comments by the Medical Director of Health Information Management Systems at the Mayo Clinic on the successful use of EHRs to improve care coordination.
Ensuring Security of High-Risk Information in EHRs go to exit disclaimer– This online white paper summarizes issues relating to privacy and sensitive personal health information.  It includes a brief discussion of HIV/AIDS privacy concerns as they relate to health IT.

Developed by the Health Resources and Services Administration as a resource for health centers and other safety net and ambulatory care providers who are seeking to implement health IT.
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