Health Information Exchanges

Palomar Health is proud to participate in Health Information Exchanges, information-sharing networks that will improve the health care you receive.

Frequently Asked Questions about Health Information Exchanges

What is a health information exchange, and how does it work?

A health information exchange (HIE) is an online system that allows a health care provider to access clinical information about a patient from another health care facility in order to help make informed treatment decisions. An HIE provides a more comprehensive and consolidated clinical record for caregivers, regardless of the data's format and location. Previous medical office or hospital visits, lab results, documentation of medications and allergies and other pertinent information are available 24 hours a day. An HIE also transmits health information to public health departments and organizations. For example, your physicians and health systems can transmit immunization information to the San Diego Immunization Registry to help the County Public Health Department with early detection of disease outbreaks.


What is San Diego Health Connect?

San Diego Health Connect is the health information exchange that spans the San Diego community and allows participating hospitals and health care providers to safely and quickly share patient health information.  This results in a more complete, up-to-date medical record that helps ensure you will receive the best care possible.


Why is Palomar Health participating in Health Information Exchanges?

One of the components of Meaningful Use as specified in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is the electronic exchange of health information to improve the quality of health care. The Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have established three stages of meaningful use, with the second stage placing a heavy emphasis on health information exchanges capabilities and interoperability. Professionals and hospitals who do not meet these requirements can be subject to penalties. Palomar Health’s goal is to meet meaningful use and support the policy goal for the secure exchange of electronic health information. Ultimately, this will allow data to closely follow patients to the point of care and better inform critical health decisions.


How will my health information and privacy be protected?

Protecting the security and confidentiality of our patient’s information is of the utmost importance. Only authorized members of your healthcare team can view your health record. In addition, Health Information Exchanges have created a secure system for information exchange that complies with state and federal privacy laws. Their advanced technology uses specific protocols to ensure that your health information remains private and secure. Health Information Exchanges facilitate exchange of the data and will not store patient health information.


When will my health information be shared?

Palomar will only share your health information electronically through a Health Information Exchange to support your continuation of care and as required or allowed by law. For example, when you see a health care provider for treatment outside of Palomar Health who participates in Health Information Exchanges and that health care provider requests your information.


How does a health information exchange benefit me?

By allowing your medical records to be included in the community health information exchange, providers and caregivers can easily and more quickly view your health history electronically from other participating health care providers. Having more complete and current information available to your providers will help them make more informed decisions to provide you with the best possible care, including avoiding unnecessary tests or procedures.


What information is shared?

Examples include:
•   Medical conditions
•   Demographic information
•   Medications
•   Immunizations
•   Inpatient hospital and outpatient hospital visits
•   Known allergies and drug reactions
•   Laboratory and radiology results

Are there risks to opting out?

Yes. The goal of a Health Information Exchange is to provide your caregivers outside Palomar Health secure access to the best available information about your health.  By opting out of health information exchange, your caregivers outside Palomar Health may have less information about you when making a diagnosis for you, or when making decisions with you about your care.


I don't want to participate. How can I opt out?

Palomar Health medical information will be visible to your non-Palomar Health caregivers through a Health Information Exchange unless you opt out by completing our online form at below. You will be asked to provide the last 4 digits of your social security number.

Your choice to opt-out of the Health Information Exchange will not affect your ability to access medical care. Opting out will not prevent your caregivers from sharing your health information with authorized entities when necessary for public health or research purposes that are permitted or required by Palomar Health as well as federal and state law. In cases of medical emergency, your doctor may request to view your health record to diagnose or treat your emergency medical condition and Palomar Health will make your records available under such circumstances.

Your opt-out request will be effective approximately ten business days after Palomar Health receives your request. You are free to opt back in at any time by completing and returning our opt-in form (Spanish version) to us at Palomar Medical Center Downtown Escondido, Privacy Office 2227 Enterprise St. Escondido, CA 92029.


I've previously opted out, but I have changed my mind. How do I opt back in?

If you previously chose not to participate, you will need to notify us by completing and mailing an opt-in form (Spanish version) to the Medical Records and Privacy Office 2227 Enterprise St. Escondido, CA 92029.


Who can I contact to learn more?

If you have questions or want to learn more about Health Information Exchanges, visit http://www.sdhealthconnect.org. Palomar Health does not control or endorse the information presented on external websites.

 

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