Resources for Patients

What is the cHIE?

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We all need to see a doctor once in a while, and it’s good to have a regular doctor. However, at times you need to see a different doctor; like when you are away from home, need a specialist, or have an emergency.

That’s why doctors in Utah are joining UHIN’s Clinical Health Information Exchange – the cHIE (pronounced “chee”). The cHIE allows you to safely share your medical history with your doctors. The more your doctors know about your medical history, the better they can treat you. The right information at the right time can even save your life! When all your doctors know how the others are treating you and why, they all can be sure they are giving you the very best care possible.

Your medical history will grow over time as your participating cHIE doctors add medical information to your records. Your medical history includes:

  • Medicines you are taking
  • Your allergies
  • Chronic conditions you have, such as diabetes, heart problems, or cancer
  • Lab and other tests you have had done, such as urinalysis, blood work, x-rays, or MRIs
  • Immunizations you’ve had
  • Past treatments you’ve received.

 

It is important to know that the cHIE may also contain medical information related to sensitive health conditions such as alcohol or drug use problems, mental health conditions, HIV/AIDS, birth control or abortion, or sexually transmitted infections. Only authorized healthcare professionals who are involved in your care and have a medically necessary reason can access this information. To help ensure that you receive safe and effective care, it is very important that your healthcare professionals have access to all your medical information. If you are concerned about sharing sensitive medical information, you can choose not to allow your information to be shared through the cHIE.

Where does information in the cHIE come from?

connectedhealthcaresmMedical information securely accessed through the cHIE comes from a variety of sources. These sources may include participating hospitals, clinics, health insurers, pharmacies, the Utah Department of Health and medical laboratories. Medical information available through the cHIE will become more complete as more and more healthcare professionals participate with the cHIE.

The cHIE is safe.

Secured data transferOnly authorized healthcare professionals who are involved in your care can have access to your information in the cHIE. The cHIE is a way for your doctors to share information with each other, just as they do by phone, fax, and mail. The difference between the cHIE and these other ways is that the cHIE has built-in security to keep your information safe. It is also faster than other ways to communicate, so your doctors can get the information they need, when they need it.

HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, is the federal law that governs who can have access to your medical information. HIPAA allows your healthcare professionals to have access to your medical information in order to provide you care. HIPAA also allows your healthcare professionals to send your insurance company information about care you have received, so that your healthcare professionals can be paid for their services. The cHIE is a system for your healthcare professionals to communicate with each other about your care, to improve your treatment and to obtain payment for the care they give you.

HIPAA’s protections were strengthened by another federal law, the HITECH Act, which may impose severe financial fines on anyone who violates your medical-privacy rights. For more information about HIPAA and medical privacy, please visit the HIPAA information site for consumers.

The cHIE takes steps to protect your information. These include:

  • All healthcare professionals who want to participate with the cHIE must have their licenses and credentials verified before being given access.
  • All cHIE users are assigned a unique login and must create a unique password, both of which are needed in order to access the cHIE.
  • All information in the cHIE is encrypted to federal standards, meaning that it cannot be read by anyone who does not have the proper login credentials to access the cHIE. Your information is accessible only as allowed by law. Only authorized healthcare professionals who have a medical relationship with you may access your medical information.
  • All access to your cHIE medical information is logged by the cHIE system and audited to ensure that the access was appropriate. You can request a report of access to your cHIE records from your healthcare professional.

Your healthcare professional can provide you with a Notice of Privacy Practices, which describes how he or she uses and protects your medical information.

Questions about improper access.

If you ever suspect that someone has improperly accessed your medical information on the cHIE, please contact your healthcare professional, UHIN at 877-693-3071, or file a complaint with the Federal Office for Civil Rights, or the Utah Office of the Attorney General at uag@utah.gov.

Changing cHIE Participation.

You can choose to not participate in the cHIE, meaning that your healthcare professionals will not be able to access or share your medical information through the cHIE. It is important to understand that:

  • If you choose not to participate in the cHIE, your healthcare professionals will still be able to share your medical information through the methods they are currently using, as HIPAA allows. These methods may include phone calls, secure email, fax, and/or physical mail.
  • If you choose not to participate, your healthcare professionals cannot be held liable for not using the cHIE as a source of information for your treatment.
  • If you choose not to participate, but later decide to have your information included in the cHIE, you will need to complete a new participation form. The cHIE may only include health information created after you begin participating.

If you do not want to participate in the cHIE, or if you previously chose not to participate but now wish to begin participating, please print and complete the Patient Participation Form. Give the completed form to your healthcare professional, and they will give it to UHIN to be processed.

Information for Veterans.

flagscopesmallThe Department of Veterans Affairs encourages all vets to “Connect Your Docs” through the VA’s Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) Health Information Exchange program. Through this program, you can give both VA healthcare professionals and your community healthcare professionals secure access to certain parts of your electronic health record.

When your healthcare professionals can access your records electronically, you don’t have to worry about remembering everything that happened at your last doctor’s visit, or carrying paper records from one doctor to another.

Please visit the VA’s VLER Health information page to learn how to begin sharing your VA health information with your cHIE-participating community healthcare professionals.