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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions for Patients, Providers and SHARE Users

What is the Office of Health Information Technology?

 

What is health information technology (HIT)?

 

What is health information exchange (HIE)?

 

What is SHARE?

 

How does SHARE work?

 

What is an electronic health record (EHR)?

 

How are EHRs used?

 

Why do we need health information exchange?

 

What principles of security and privacy are followed?

 

What parts of my health information is included in SHARE?

 

If there’s a breach at another facility, will liability be shared amongst all the participants?

 

Can I access my SHARE record?

 

Will all of my health information from the past be included in SHARE?

 

Can I opt-out of SHARE with certain providers, or exclude parts of my medical record?

 

Do I need to opt-out of SHARE with each of my providers?

 

What is the process, supporting policy and procedure for highly sensitive Protected Health Information?

 

What is the Office of Health Information Technology?

The Office of Health Information Technology, a division within the Arkansas Department of Health, was established to provide leadership for the development and implementation of a statewide health information exchange in Arkansas. The roles of the office are to coordinate health information technology planning, development, implementation and financing, and plan the development and operation of the SHARE, the health information exchange.

What is health information technology (HIT)?

Health Information Technology (HIT) is the electronic storage, retrieval, sharing and use of health care data for communication and decision-making.

What is a health information exchange (HIE)?

Health Information Exchange (HIE) provides the capability to electronically move clinical information between disparate health care information systems to facilitate access to and retrieval of clinical data, thereby helping to provide safer, timely, efficient, effective, equitable patient-centered care.

What is SHARE?

The State Health Alliance for Records Exchange (SHARE) is Arkansas’s health information exchange. SHARE allows doctors and hospitals to share and retrieve health information in a secure, electronic manner.

How does SHARE work?

When all parts of the Arkansas health care system use standardized electronic health records and connect those systems to SHARE, it will be possible for patients to ensure that their doctors, hospitals, clinics, insurers and pharmacies have the information they need at the time and place they need it to provide the best treatment possible.

In many offices, patient information is collected and stored the same way as it was decades ago: in bulky paper files kept in one practitioner’s office. The doctor sees a patient, jots down notes in a folder, fills out a form to order tests, and scribbles out a prescription on another piece of paper. Later, if the patient needs to see a specialist or get a prescription filled, numerous paper records must be retrieved, copied and sent.

But moving from a paper-based system to an electronic system for managing health information does not help the majority of patients who see more than one doctor. How can all of their treating providers have a complete picture of the patient’s health when each provider only keeps their piece of the patient’s medical information? SHARE is the answer to this problem.

Electronic health records connected through SHARE allow a patient seeing a doctor in one part of the state to share or retrieve health information from a health care provider (e.g. hospital, lab, or surgeon) in another part of the state – instantly and accurately, to ensure timely and informed delivery of care.

What is an electronic health record (EHR)?

An electronic record of patient health information, including patient demographics, notes, problems, medications, vital signs, medical history, immunizations, laboratory data, and radiology reports that has the ability to generate a complete record of a clinical patient encounter. Also known as an electronic medical record or EMR.

How are EHRs used?

 

  • Results management: The ability for all doctors and other providers participating in the care of a patient in multiple settings to quickly access new and past test results will increase patient safety and effectiveness of care.
  • Orders management: The ability to enter and store orders for prescriptions, tests, and other services in a computer-based system will enhance legibility, reduce duplication and improve the speed with which orders are executed
  • Clinical decision support (CDS): Using reminders, prompts, and alerts, CDS will improve compliance with best clinical practices, ensure regular screenings and other preventive practices, identify possible drug interactions, facilitate diagnoses and treatments and reduce the frequency of adverse events
  • Electronic Communication and Connectivity: Improved communication among doctors, providers and other partners, such as laboratory, pharmacy, and radiology professionals, can enhance patient safety and quality of care. Electronic communication tools, such as e-mail and web messaging, have been shown to be effective in facilitating communication both among providers and with patients, thus allowing for greater continuity of care.
  • Patient support: Tools that give patients access to their personal health records and provide interactive patient education will encourage greater involvement of patients in their own health care.


 

Why do we need health information exchange (HIE)?

Patients usually visit many different providers and go to different locations to receive health care, including doctors, nurses, hospitals, nursing homes, community health centers, and pharmacies. Each provider and location keeps its own medical records on its patients but providers cannot readily access records and important information about their patients’ care from other locations. Doctors and other health care providers can give patients better care and avoid mistakes if they have access to patients’ medical history, such as lab tests, medication history, problem list, allergies, and other health reports. By having access to more complete medical history, providers and patients can make more informed decisions about the patient’s care plan, thus improving the quality of that care and avoiding medial errors.

What principles of security and privacy are followed?

Existing privacy and security requirements under HIPAA and HITECH that cover access to and use of health information apply to electronic health information as well as traditional paper documentation. SHARE utilizes technologies, policies and processes to incorporate HIPAA and HITECH requirements into the management and oversight of health information that is exchanged through SHARE.

What parts of my health information is included in SHARE?

Only parts of your health information will be available in SHARE. Lab results, x-ray results, medical diagnosis information, medication allergies, doctor’s notes, and medications can be available in SHARE. Each participating provider will decide what patient information, from this list, they will put into SHARE, and how far back that information will be dated.

If there’s a breach at another facility, will liability be shared amongst all the participants?

The answer is “No.”  If there is a data breach, the sending clinic would not be held responsible for the breach so long as the clinic has complied with all applicable law and policy. Only those participants and bad actors who have not complied with applicable law and policy will be held liable for any breach.

Can I access my SHARE record?

You will not be able to login to SHARE to access your health information—only authorized health care entities can access SHARE. However, you may be able to view your aggregated records from other providers if you see a doctor that participates in SHARE and uses an electronic medical record system that is capable of pulling your record from SHARE for you to view.

Will all of my health information from the past be included in SHARE?

Not all of your health information from the past or present will be in SHARE. First, in order for your health information to be in SHARE, your health care providers must participate in SHARE, and you must give your providers consent to disclose your information through SHARE. Second, each participating health care provider decides what patient health information to put into SHARE, and how far back that data will reach. Some participating hospitals are pushing up to two years of patient data into SHARE (data from 2011 onward). Ask your participating provider what information they are sharing about you, and how far back the information dates.

Can I opt-out of SHARE with certain providers, or exclude parts of my medical record?

No, you cannot opt-out of SHARE with certain providers. SHARE cannot exclude specific visits, tests or episodes of care, or specific providers. If you decide to participate, your health information from all of your participating health care providers will be available in SHARE. If you do not want to participate, you can opt-out. This means no one will be able to access your health information through SHARE except in an emergency. If you have paid out-of-pocket for an episode of care that you do not want in your medical record, you will need to tell your doctor that you want it excluded from SHARE.

Do I need to opt-out of SHARE with each of my providers?

No. Opt-outs are all-encompassing, so you only need to opt-out with one provider to opt-out with all providers. SHARE will flag your record as “Opted-Out,” which will prevent any providers from viewing your information through SHARE except in an emergency.

What is the process, supporting policy and procedure for highly sensitive Protected Health Information?

Information that is subject to special protection may not be included in SHARE. OHIT’s Privacy Policy 500 states that Participants should assume the following information is not available through SHARE: alcohol and substance abuse treatment records, records of predictive genetic testing performed for genetic counseling purposes, certain records of minors including diagnosis and treatment of suspected abuse. For more information, see the privacy policy (PDF).