Data Integration

Healthcare Companies Need to Be Aware of Health Information Exchange Rule Changes and Understand How it Impacts Them

Traci Curran

May 5, 2020

healthcare companies sharing data using actian

Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) play a critical role in enabling healthcare companies to share data by getting clinical information to where it is needed. HIEs gather electronic medical information or EMR (Electronic Medical Records) from hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare providers across a region so the data can be shared securely. This enables the industry to deliver better patient care, improve personal and public health, and lower overall costs.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a couple of significant changes to the way healthcare information is shared. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) announced a new rule that requires hospitals to notify doctors if their patients are undergoing coronavirus treatment. Health Information Exchanges play a vital orchestration role in these notifications, so to make compliance easier, many HIEs have changed and relaxed their confidentiality rules to remove the patient consent requirement and expand data sharing to include epidemiology, surveillance, and related efforts. These changes mean hospitals and other providers must update their processes and IT systems.  The effort required to do this varies based on where the provider is located, the services provided by the HIE, and the company’s strategy for data integration.

Impact to Organizations That Are Part of a Health Information Exchange

Many states and regions have Health Information Exchanges in place to orchestrate the data-sharing process. Providers make their data available to the exchange, which then handles distributing it to each of the consuming organizations. If your company takes part in a HIE, there are two main impacts the recent changes will have on you.

  1. Change processes and system rules to follow the HIE rules about patient consent. You likely have a control in place to prevent data transmission if the patient has not supplied explicit consent. This control may need to be removed.
  2. Data volume for incoming data. With more providers sending more data to the HIEs, consuming organizations are likely to see more data coming into their IT systems to support patient care. Real-time data integration is critical to avoid delays in supplying information to practitioners.

Impact to Organizations That Are Not Part of a Health Information Exchange

Healthcare companies must follow the CMS rule on integration and patient access regardless of whether they take part in a HIE. If you don’t have a HIE available or have direct relationships with partner organizations outside of the HIE, your company is responsible for ensuring COVID-19-related data is distributed to the correct external parties in a safe, secure, and consistent way. That is likely going to mean deploying new data integrations and updating your current ones.

Depending on your company’s integration strategy, how many organizations you need to integrate with, and what investments you have made in the past, the new CMS rule may require significant IT effort. The Actian DataConnect platform can help make this process easier by providing your IT staff with a robust set of tools for designing, deploying, and managing integrations across your company’s partner ecosystem. With HIPAA and HL7 compliant solutions designed for the healthcare industry, Actian DataConnect can help you deliver more integrations, faster.

Why Healthcare Companies Need a Data Integration Platform

Pandemic situations like COVID-19 causes tremendous strain on the healthcare industry. The number of patients the healthcare system can handle at one time is often determined by the efficiency of the healthcare system in exchanging patient information. Healthcare practitioners do not know what data is available to them unless it is pushed to the screen. Health Information Exchanges play an essential role in this process, but the last mile is dependent on your internal IT staff.  Actian DataConnect gives them the tools they need to manage your data integrations effectively.

Actian DataConnect provides a robust data integration platform that can enable hospitals and other healthcare companies to manage their integrations with HIEs and other partners in a scalable, safe, and controlled way. Aggregate data from all your internal data sources and ensure that your partners have a complete, correct, and up-to-date set of information about the patient so they can coordinate care. Connect with the HIE, governmental organizations like the CDC and FDA, research institutions, and industry partners to give your practitioners access to the best information available in the industry to aid in diagnosis and treatment. To learn more, visit

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About Traci Curran

Traci Curran serves as Director of Product Marketing at Actian focused on the Actian Data Platform. With more than 20 years of experience in technology marketing, Traci has previously held senior marketing roles at CloudBolt Software, Racemi (acquired by DXC Corporation), as well as some of the world’s most innovative startups. Traci is passionate about helping customers understand how they can accelerate innovation and gain competitive advantage by leveraging digital transformation and cloud technologies.