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About Health Information Exchanges
What Health Information Exchanges Mean to You
Lifespan participates in certain health information exchange (HIE) networks to share, request, and receive your health information, if authorized by you or as permitted by law, with or from other health care providers or entities for treatment, payment, or health care operations purposes. CurrentCare, Rhode Island’s statewide HIE, is one of these.
Here’s an example of how HIE can benefit you. If you have a heart attack and are taken to a non-Lifespan hospital, a health information exchange will give your care team access to your Lifespan electronic health record (LifeChart). This will help inform decisions about your emergency treatment, since the care team quickly will be able to review your medical history, medications, and cardiologist’s notes.
However, you may choose not to have your information shared through our multiple HIEs (that is, you may “opt out”) at any time. Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions section below for more information. If you still have questions, you are welcome to contact the Lifespan privacy officer at 401-444-4728.
If you wish to opt out or opt back in, please send a letter to the Lifespan Privacy Officer, 245 Chapman Street, Suite 200, Providence, RI 02905; or an email to email@example.com; or download, complete and mail the Lifespan Health Information Exchange opt-out form (PDF).
If you choose to opt out but later decide to opt back in, any information that was previously restricted by your request will once again be exchanged and accessible through all HIEs Lifespan participates in.
FAQs About Health Information Exchange
What is a health information exchange?
HIE networks electronically share, request, and receive your health information, if authorized or as permitted by law, with or from other health care providers or entities for treatment, payment, or health care operations purposes. Your health information is protected by the latest information technology safeguards in accordance with the security and privacy provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and similar state laws that may apply.
Who can request my personal health records?
The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) forbids health care providers from sharing your personal health information for most purposes other than treatment, payment, or health care operations without written authorization from you. Participants in HIE networks are bound by those limitations.
Is all my personal health information subject to sharing?
No. With few exceptions (for example, emergency care), certain information—such as psychotherapy, substance use disorder, mental health, and other sensitive notes—requires your written permission in order to be shared through health information exchanges. For more details, see Lifespan’s Summary Notice of Privacy Practices and also refer to the enrollment conditions with the HIEs you have enrolled in.
Do I need to do anything to allow Lifespan to start sharing my personal health information with its participating HIEs?
No. Lifespan is sharing your crucial health care information with Lifespan's participating HIEs. Lifespan shares this information whenever you are admitted to, or visit, a Lifespan facility. Please note that some HIEs may require you to take additional steps (for example, opting in through their websites) in order for them to access this information.
Currently, Lifespan participates in these HIEs:
Lifespan shares your clinical information with these HIEs and their hospital, physician practice, and health care and/or public health authority participants.
What are the benefits of health information exchange?
Electronic health information exchange improves the quality, safety, and efficiency of patient care, and may reduce health care costs. These systems can help prevent errors by ensuring that everyone involved in a patient’s care is relying on a comprehensive record – the “big picture,” so to speak. This reduces the likelihood of redundant tests, conflicting diagnoses, and incompatible medications and enables better-coordinated treatment plans. These are just a few of the benefits of health information exchange.
What if I don’t want Lifespan to share my health records?
You may opt out of having your information exchanged in our HIE network at any time (and may also opt back in) by sending a letter to Lifespan Privacy Officer, 245 Chapman Street, Suite 200, Providence, RI, 02905, or an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by downloading, completing and mailing the Lifespan Health Information Exchange opt-out form (PDF). Your records, including test results, still may be shared with your primary care physician or your other treating providers, and other HIE participants by fax or by mail.
Please note that certain information (such as hospital admission, discharge, and transfer information) is automatically shared with the Rhode Island Quality Institute’s CurrentCare HIE. CurrentCare will continue to share this information unless you contact and terminate your enrollment directly with them.
In addition, the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and other federal agencies may require us to notify members of your care team electronically in the event you are admitted, discharged, or transferred to a hospital. Members of your care team can also specifically request this information be sent to them electronically. Opting out of HIEs does not affect hospital event notifications.
If I opt out of Lifespan’s HIE, can my health care records still be shared electronically?
Opting out at Lifespan does not prevent participants in other HIE networks from sharing your information. Health systems or providers that use other electronic health record systems may share your information under the same restrictions that bind Lifespan. Each HIE has different opt-in and opt-out procedures, so it is always best to contact them directly.
Currently, Lifespan participate in these HIEs:
- Epic Care Everywhere (phone: 608-271-9000)
- Carequality (phone: 571-418-7747)
- eHealthExchange (phone: 571-418-7743)
- Rhode Island Quality Institute’s CurrentCare (phone: 401-276-9141)