Health Affairs August 14, 2019
Michael Hochman, Judith Garber, Edmondo J. Robinson

Although most transactions in our modern world are electronic and automated, many health care professionals still exchange patient information through inefficient manual processes. In much of the US, health information exchange (HIE) requires a complex series of handwritten signatures and faxed requests, resulting in lengthy delays. The net result is frustration for clinicians and patients, as well as repetition of services and even medical errors. 

In 2009, Congress attempted to modernize HIE processes by passing the HITECH Act, offering grants and incentives to states and municipalities for developing regional HIE initiatives. Although there has been some progress toward effective mechanisms for data exchange, in many regions of the country it is no easier to share medical information than it was a decade ago. According to a 2018 report,...