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Making HIE Part of Disaster Preparedness

A new report from a consortium representing six Gulf States lays out how to make health information exchange among states part of disaster preparedness and response.

The effort, begun in late 2010 and supported by the Office of the National Coordinator for HIT, included representatives from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas. Recommendations in the report pertain to other states, as well. A major goal of the initiative is to incorporate disaster planning earlier in health information exchange projects, according to a new ONC blog posting.

Recommendations include:

  • Review state disaster response and governance policies, as they may not address the sharing of health information during a disaster.
  • Develop standard procedures to share electronic health information across state lines before a disaster occurs.
  • Establish a waiver of liability for release of records and to default state privacy and security rules to existing HIPAA standards in a disaster.
  • Engage local HIEs, and private and public health information networks such as delivery systems, insurers, and electronic health records vendors, to increase sources from which health information may be exchanged. “Health information sharing during a disaster should not rely solely on the State HIE, but on a more effective network of health information-sharing networks.”
  • Consider a phased approach to building interstate HIE capabilities. The report includes a three-phased approach as a roadmap for state HIEs to consider.

The report is available here.

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